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Your pregnancy is moving forward, your belly is growing and you still have tons of things on your “to-do list”. One of those “to-dos” will be finding the right hospitals/birthing centres for the delivery of your newborn. Of course, that list will also likely include looking for birth preparation courses, preparing the paperwork, finding a gynecologist, planning meal prep kits, and babyproofing the house.
PS: Those red links above, yeah that’s where you’ll find a ton more information that will help you prepare!
It is an important decision that Doula Brid Céline Michael, Founder of Doula Brid (and conveniently a local English, French, German, and Spanish speaking Doula in Düsseldorf), wants to help you figure out.
Things to Consider When Choosing Birthing Centres
Your first step will be to attend a number of different “Infoabend” sessions at a variety of different birthing centres in Düsseldorf (or as many as you feel comfortable attending). You can attend as many as you would like to and you can attend multiple sessions at the same center if it helps make your decision process easier.
These “Infoabend” sessions are informative 1-2 hour sessions that provide you with more information about the doctors, nurses, and the center you are visiting.
Don’t forget: an information event is always a selling event.
Always remember that you are the customer. Feel free to ask questions, especially if you have linguistical challenges to handle on top of the birth. You can also make personal appointments with the midwife or doctor to share your questions in advance. The birth of your child will be easier and quicker if you understand what is going on, especially if you’re expecting your very first child.
External parameters like stylish birth rooms and modern technology might be important to you right now. However, while under contractions, your priorities may change quickly. Here are some things to consider when picking which birthing center is right for you:
- You may want to see the midwife that is taking care of you (and who at least speaks English)
- Note: shifts change every 6-8 hours approximately
- You may wish to have a private room (if you wish to hire a one-to-one birth assistant, find a doula speaking your language)
- You may require a medicine ball and other equipment to support your dilatation phase (you should also take a birth preparation course with your partner 1-2 months before birth)
- You may feel like taking a bath or even envision a water birth (EVK, Sana Gerresheim, Bethesda Duisburg)
- You may want homeopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy or agree to different pain reliefs (epidurals are always possible if alternatives are not enough – my hint is to ask for a hot water bottle or a warm „Kirschkernkissen“ – cherry pit pillow which offers such easy pain relief)
- You may prefer to just be with a midwife for the moment of the delivery, or prefer to have a doctor joining the birth (most doctors join before the crowning of the baby)
- You may feel more secure if you have a perinatal center in the hospital and high-tech medicine (Uni Klinik, EVK, and Diakonie)
- You may be a high-risk patient and require special treatment, or your baby might need special care after birth (Uni Klinik, EVK, Diakonie, Bethesda Duisburg)
- You may want the baby-friendly certificate „Babyfreundliches Krankenhaus – baby-friendly hospital“ which guarantees the skin to skin bonding between mother and child and active support in breastfeeding (Marienhospital, Diakonie)
- You might want to make sure that 24-hour rooming-in is possible for your baby (it is possible in all clinics)
- You may want to know if breastfeeding consultancy is available
Note: In all maternity centers, it is possible to have an ambulant birth which means that you can go home after approx. 4 hours if your baby and yourself are healthy and want to.
The Libelle Magazin offers a comparison of different hospitals/birthing centres in Düsseldorf and surrounding areas, which is very helpful to make your decision. I’ve also included some information below to help you make the best decision for your needs.
The cesarean rates (Kaiserschnittrate in Prozent) are important to take into consideration, the number of midwives per shift (Hebammen pro-Schicht), perinatal intensive care (Neugeborenenintensivstation im Haus), beds per room (Betten pro-Zimmer) and family rooms (Familienzimmer). It is not possible to reserve a family room, so it is by chance if you get one.
The equipment in the labor rooms are very similar and usually consist of:
- A large bed
- A cloth/rope hanging from the ceiling
- A medicine ball
- A mat to move more comfortably on the floor
- A birthing chair (you may have to ask the midwife to provide this)
Your Birthing Center Options in Düsseldorf
The Marien Hospital is in the center of Düsseldorf and is a „Baby-friendly“ clinic that supports natural births, has a lower cesarean rate and offers special information for Japanese women. It offers a warm atmosphere and applies alternative methods like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and homeopathy.
Spoken languages: Geman, English, Russian, Polish, Persian and Japanese
The birthing center „Geburtshaus“ in the center of Düsseldorf is exclusively lead by midwives offering birth in their center or homebirths. It is important to ask for a midwife as soon as you have a positive pregnancy test because their capacities are very restricted. It is a great alternative for women who neither want to give birth at home nor in a hospital. In case of difficulties, the woman can decide which hospital she would like to transfer to.
Spoken languages: German, English, and Hindi
The Uni Klinik is in the South of Düsseldorf and offers an International Office to its patients. The clinic offers high-tech equipment, is specialized in pregnancy diabetes and includes a perinatal center for premature babies.
Spoken languages: English, French, Spanish, Polish, Farsi and video translation on an iPad is possible
The EVK is in the center of Düsseldorf with a perinatal center and offers all English speaking parents-to-be a personal consultation to talk about your individual birth plan. You can choose from different equipment and even experience a water birth if you feel like it.
Spoken languages: German, English, Russian
The Diakonie- Florence Nightingale Hospital is a „Baby-friendly“ clinic with a perinatal center in the North of Düsseldorf. It offers a birth room exclusively lead by midwives. Registration for this birth room has to be done between the 28-32th week of pregnancy. The labor rooms are very modern and high-risk patients and premature babies are in good hands.
Spoken languages: German, English
Sana Clinics Gerresheim & Benrath
The Sana clinics in Gerresheim and Benrath welcome pregnant women after week 36 because they do not have a prenatal center. In Gerresheim you can use the Roma-wheel and even give birth in the water. Both clinics are prepared for complications, have an OR and collaborate with the Uni Klinik in case of emergencies.
Spoken languages: German, English
Bethesda Duisburg are specialists for breech presentation and located in the city center of Duisburg. Sometimes babies don’t take the positions we want them to. Before deciding on a programmed cesarean, there are options like massages, exercises, acupuncture, homeopathy, moxa, and external turning.
Spoken languages: German, English
All hospitals and birthing centers offer a cafeteria with regular opening hours from early in the morning until late in the evening. Hospital food is not the best, so I highly recommend bringing enough healthy, fresh, and caloric food with you (nuts, fruits, honey, the water you like in a sports bottle which makes drinking in different positions easier, chocolate, sandwiches, etc.). Labour might take a while and you will both be more relaxed if you have your own food basket and enough to drink with you. Another option is to order something and get it delivered to the hospital’s labor room.
Make yourself comfortable, bring some music if you feel like, personal items like a blanket, pillow, books, and food. Especially if you are being induced and do not know how long you might stay in the hospital. Birth is an intensive and joyful journey. Take good care of yourself and your baby and be open to caring professionals who are there to help you.
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