What happens when you’re in labor but your clinic is full?

It’s an increasing worry many expecting parents are facing in large metropolitan areas across Germany – especially in Munich.

Will I be able to give birth at the clinic I registered at?

an ambulance speeding through traffic at nighttime 300x169 - What happens when you’re in labor but your clinic is full? - Your Hamburg DoulaThe answer – most likely so!

Given the current situation, however, visiting – and possibly even registering at – more than one clinic or hospital in the Munich area may indeed be worth considering. Think about what you need to feel safe, comfortable and confident in the quality of care you will receive as birth draws near.

We called Taxisklinik when my water broke and they told us they were at full capacity. Then they told us they would call back once they had found an alternative hospital. However, nearly an hour went by without a returned call so my husband started calling hospitals, which was a good thing that he did, because Taxisklinik called back and said we could go to Pasing (which was a bit crazy, since that's on the other end of town)- and we were able to reach Harlaching, which Taxisklinik hadn't called, and Harlaching happened to be extremely quiet that day in terms of births so we really got quite lucky!

What if I told you there were a website you could use to view availability in maternal child units across Munich?

Well, there is!

First, however, I want to issue a bit of caution.

While this can be quite an informative tool, it could usher in much unwanted and unneeded anxiety – the last thing you want during your pregnancy. Consider what’s helpful to you. It may just be best to leave it.

If, when the time comes, you think you may be going into labor, you can navigate over to the website IVENA to check your clinic’s current capacity. Click on the option "Frauenheilkunde u. Geburtshilfe", and then click on the button matching your current week of pregnancy.

Remember, calling your hospital or clinic of choice at the beginning of labor is the only certain way to get the latest and most accurate updates regarding availability!

Three years ago the Geisenhofer Klinik was full when I arrived. They told me all the rooms were full and also the delivery rooms. The midwifes checked me and tried to send me home twice. But because I knew for the third child everything can go fast, I refused to leave and stayed in the clinic (corridors, garden, Cafeteria :)...). The last time they checked me and said I should really go back home please as nothing was happening, the delivery started! Thirty minutes later the baby was out! Luckily I was stubborn, otherwise I'd have given birth in my car. They managed to find me a bed in the part of the clinic not dedicated to new mums, but it was fine. They moved me the next day when a bed in the maternity dept went free.

But what can you expect if you call during labor and they’ve reached full capacity?

pregnant woman in hospital and fetal heartbeat monitor 300x200 - What happens when you’re in labor but your clinic is full? - Your Hamburg DoulaA midwife will offer to call you back or ask you to call again after a short while so that she can check clinic availability across Munich. With this information, you’ll then call one of the clinics suggested to confirm that you can be accommodated.

If you have already arrived at your hospital only to find that they can no longer accept any more mothers in labor, you may have several options:

  1. If you are concerned that birth is imminent or feel that labor is progressing quickly, you will be asked to stay and a means of accommodating you will be found. If, for some reason, it is recommended that you go to another clinic because the midwife believes there is plenty of time, you still can insist upon staying if you feel labor is progressing quickly. Most laboring mothers are able to gauge this instinctually. After all, you know your body and your baby best.
  2. You are guaranteed transportation to another hospital via ambulance. This is arranged for you by hospital staff. Consult staff as to whether your partner can ride with you.
  3. If the midwife on call does not express any medical concerns, and you feel that there is still ample time, you can choose your own mode of transportation – either to go home for a while or go directly to one of the alternative clinics.

If you have registered at a second clinic, then you may have a better chance of giving birth in a place with which you are at least vaguely familiar. This is exceptionally important as your level of comfort and confidence in labor directly affects how you experience the birth of your child.

Schwabing was full and short staffed when I was in Labour. The midwife told me that, had the doctor check me, and the doctor made the call that I was too far along to be transfered. So they were running around like crazy, but we got to stay.

And, remember, trust your instincts about everything. Never worry about inconveniencing anyone because you will only be pregnant with this baby this one time, you will only give birth to this baby this one time – don’t spend even a second of your time worrying about how others feel or what they think. What matters most is your and your baby. You deserve to be – and have the right to be – a respected participant in your own and your baby’s healthcare.

I was registered at Rechts der Isar. My water broke four days before my scheduled c-section. My husband called and they turned me away, and they told me to wait for them to call around, but my taxi was already waiting for me (my husband had to stay at home until my MIL arrived to watch our sleeping 8year old). So I'm grabbing my husband screaming, 'I can't do this alone!!! I can't do this alone!!!'. He shoved me in the taxi and told the taxi dude to take me to Maistrasse. The cab driver ended up comforting me, saying he will drive me to all the hospitals if necessary and he went in to talk to the Maistrasse hospital for me... they took me and I had baby D two hours later.

Please help expecting families in Munich to gain a thorough understanding of what they can anticipate when it comes to birth by sharing your personal experiences in the comments section below.

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