Like anything else in the big city, the pace of life moves quickly. And that is nothing short of true when it comes to giving birth in Munich – after all, it’s pretty much the only city in all of Germany where birth rates are reaching record-breaking heights. That’s why newly pregnant mothers are no longer hesitating in striking these 5 to-do items off of their list… right off the bat.
1. Choose an obstetrician.
Munich boasts a large selection of English-speaking gynecologists and/or obstetricians. To find one:
- Consult the list provided by the US Consulate General Munich, (see here)
- Check out the various threads on Toytown Munich
- Join the Facebook group Parents in Munich to gain access to a whole range of English-speaking resources including a lengthy list of OBGYN recommendations.
- Enlist the services of Katrin Nellis of Munich Horizon to assist you in navigating the very administrative and bureaucratic side of childbirth in Germany
From the very beginning of your pregnancy up through weeks 39 to 41, your and your baby’s health will be monitored by your obstetrician and/or an in-practice midwife. You’ll receive a document called a Mutterpass in which all health information pertaining to your pregnancy will be recorded regularly. Should you travel at any point throughout your pregnancy, bring this document with you. If you need to stop in unexpectedly to see a doctor during your travels, s/he will have a general frame of reference to work from.
Toward the end of your pregnancy, your prenatal care may be transferred over to the clinic or hospital where you have chosen to give birth for additional monitoring. If you would like to know more ask your physician when s/he usually transfers care and for what reasons.
2. Choose a midwife for in-home postnatal care... immediately.
German insurance covers the cost of midwifery care both before and after the birth of your baby. However, due to rapidly increasing demand, midwives offer primarily postnatal care and some even include one or two visits beforehand. Because the number of births in Munich is steadily rising and midwives across Germany continue to face a precarious insurance situation, it has become increasingly challenging to secure the care of a Nachsorgehebamme (postnatal midwives). Recently, expectant mothers have had little success finding one starting as early as 10 to 12 weeks. Search for a midwife available near you by entering your postal code on the Bavarian Association of Midwives’ website. The list provided on Parents in Munich may prove to be a helpful resource as well.
What happens if you can’t find a midwife for postnatal care?
- Ask your Obstetrician. S/he may work with individual midwives or a group of midwives who may have some availability
- Send a letter to your insurance company requesting the support you are entitled to both now and for other mothers in the future (example)
Visit the Dominikuszentrum located on Hildegard-von-Bingen-Anger 1-3, 80937 Munich (North Munich) for drop-in consultations with a Nachsorgehebamme
3. Choose a homebirth midwife, birthing center, clinic or hospital.
A variety of birth options are available in Munich. Depending upon which option best suits you, you may not want to wait all that long before making a move to pre-register at your birth location of choice. In fact some clinics, birthing centers or homebirth midwives may be nearly impossible to secure after your 7th to 10th week of pregnancy. Read more about your Munich birth options here.
All hospitals, clinics and birthing centers offer information evenings on a monthly basis. This is a great way to learn about the options and services available as well as the philosophy of each obstetrics team. Be sure to bring questions to help you determine which option will be the best fit for you and your baby.
4. Register for a childbirth course.
The cost of some childbirth preparation courses can be reimbursed by your insurance company. These courses are primarily those taught by midwives. As far as English-speaking childbirth preparation classes go, there are some available through the Counselling Centre for Natural Childbirth and Parenting, e.V., Pippagina and GentleBirth Munich. As a doula, I also offer private childbirth classes carefully designed to meet the individual needs of each family as well as HypnoBirthing (The Mongan Method) as of spring/summer 2016. While it’s not absolutely necessary to book a class during early pregnancy, it will be something to consider before getting too far into your second trimester.
5. Create your community of support.
Most of us don’t live close to friends and families as our grandparents and parents once did. You may be the first of your friends or acquaintances to experience parenthood. Let’s face it, the more supported we feel, the better we feel. So start by building your system of support.
- Secure the support of a doula to answer your questions throughout pregnancy, support you physically, mentally and emotionally during labor & birth and help you navigate the early postnatal days with confidence and ease - find out more about doulas here
- Visit a prenatal yoga class with YogaBee
- Take a breastfeeding class (e.g. with Pippagina)
- Visit a local La Leche League (mother-to-mother breastfeeding support) meeting
- Join the Facebook Positive Birth Group Munich for bi-monthly meet-ups
- Start putting together a post-pregnancy activity list: infant swim lessons, infant massage and mommy & me play groups with Pippagina, Kindermusik
What was your experience? Were you able to find a Nachsorgehebamme or register with your clinic/hospital/home birth midwife of choice? Share your experience.