Giving birth in Berlin

159 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi,

I'm wondering whether there are any Americans out there who've given birth in Berlin, and what your experience was like. I'm newly pregnant, and am seeking American perspectives on hospitals vs. private clinics here, doctors, etcetera. I'm a little terrified, and those birth shows that i've caught on German tv haven't eased my worries at all. Any advice? Recommendations?

Thanks!

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Posted

I myself am not (yet) pregnant, but I do know at least three girls living in Berlin who have given birth not too long ago. Is there anything in particular you would like to know about?

Edit: Forgot to ask: Whereabouts in Berlin do you live?

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Posted

i live in Wilmersdorf. I'm just looking for recommendations to hospitals, clinics, doctors, and maybe things to look out for. My current doctor is just not my cup of tea. He's insecure with his English, and is a little short with me, not too comforting for me, as this is my first pregnancy, and obviously, i have questions. Plus, quite honestly, it'd be lovely to find a doctor in Berlin who uses gowns or those paper blankets- anything so that i can cover my bare ass as i make my way from the table to the changing area!

More seriously, I've considered giving birth in a private clinic, but those don't have NICU's, so I'm a little leery, just because i think it's important to have a NICU nearby, should anything go wrong. But again, I don't know much about anything, and am just starting my quest for info.

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Posted

All three of my friends/acquaintances had their babies in a hospital called "Waldfriede" (in Zehlendorf). They all live in different districts, but chose to go to the Waldfriede because they felt the most comfortable there. I'm afraid I don't know of many doctors here who are really good with their English. It's always good to have someone with you who speaks good German when you have important appointments to go to. I try to accompany my husband to all of these things, cause he's still struggling with his German, even more so at a doctor's office. Do you maybe have any friends to help you out or can your husband/boyfriend maybe translate for you?

I do know a good doctor in Steglitz, but I am not sure he even speaks any English. He's a real sweetheart, knows how to make you feel comfortable B) and I've been his patient for about six years now. My husband and I are trying for a baby now, too, and I will definetely stick with this doctor. He does not, however, make use of either gowns or paper blankets, I'm afraid. :D

A colleague of mine gave birth to two of her children at home. She absolutely loved the experience, but I am not sure I would consider that as an option, as I, too, would want to have the proper equipment around - just in case.

If you knew German enough to read information material I could get some reading material for you. I've got some stuff in my office, as advising my clients on this part of their lives is part of my job.

I completely forgot:

CONGRATS!!!

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Posted

I am Thistles husband :ph34r:

Congrats :P

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Posted

I have a good friend who works as a midwife in Berlin. She is from Chicago. PM me if you wish to hear from her.

PES

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Posted

Hi there,

I'm American and gave birth here in Berlin 13 months ago. I don't have too much time to write a well thought out reply but send me a personal message and we can exchange phone numbers. Take care.

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Posted

hi,

im american and newly pregnant too . I had a hard time finding a doctor at first. First, i went to the doctor in my clinic and she didnt speak english adn it was very hard because like u, i wanted to be comforted and told that everything was ok but she barely spoke to me. Then i found a very nice doctor who speaks English but his office is close to my area which is Friedrichshain. there is a website where u can locate doctors who speak English in all areas of Berlin.

try it:

http://www.aerzte-berlin.de/_php/therapie30/fach.php3

there is also an option to get a midwife in Berlin. if u have insurance it is a good idea and u probably would need an english speaking one. how far along are u?

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Posted

Hi

I am also newly pregnant in Berlin for the first time. I have managed to find an excellent MD and midwife through my doctor and am satisfied thus far. I have no idea how busy she is ect. accepting new patients ect. I have an appointment today and will find out. Unfortunately I have not found a doctor who uses gowns ect, here yet. I plan to deliver at Westend which I am told has 24 hour NICU service and a limit to how many deliveries they will accept each month, hopefully personalizing service?? Agreed having never been pregnant before and experiencing this for the first time in a foreign country is daunting. However, I have the advantage of attending many births in the past to know that there is nothing to to be afraid of. I would advise unless you are very comfortable with your surroundings, know the system very well, have lots of support, and are prepared to accept less than ideal outcomes, not delivering at home. It works for some but not for most. But it doesn't sound like you are headed in that direction. Thanks for posting. Honestly I have never replied to a blog before but I saw your plea and thought that sounds like someone like me. Personally, I have found the sense of isolation to be the worst here. I just returned from a trip to the states where friends and family were thrilled to see me pregnant for the first time and envied my ability to stay home and prepare for the happy event ect. Unfortunately I returned to a cold and wet Berlin without anyone I know to empathize ect. I know there must be more people like us out there. Thanks for getting the ball rolling.

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Posted

Breath and push and oh yeah, don't forget to breath. ;)

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Posted

Thank you all for your replies! I just returned today from 2 weeks in the US, so I'm sorry I haven't responded.

I will be in touch soon to your responses. Hopefully, i'll be able to also post some of my experiences. My US doctor gave me some comfort when I saw him last week, and told me that, even though there are no gowns here, the quality of medical care for pregnant women (and obviously, this can vary) is generally considered to be equal, if not better, here in Germany. Obviously, i'm still nervous, but I've got (hopefully) 5+ months to prep...

Blusofa, i totally understand your feelings of isolation here- the weather doesn't help. Maybe we can start our own little social group... it's terribly hard to meet people here, particularly when a)you don't have small kids yet and B) you're not in college/ newly graduated.

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Posted

Plus, quite honestly, it'd be lovely to find a doctor in Berlin who uses gowns or those paper blankets- anything so that i can cover my bare ass as i make my way from the table to the changing area!

Not in Berlin but FYI: I dont think they have gowns in germany - at least none of the docs Ive ever been too used them. Try wearing an oversized button down shirt to your appointments, you can easily keep it on. Good luck with the pregnancy :)

PS: and you ladies should arrange a meetup. Sounds like you all might have enough to chatter about over decaf tea and coffee. :)

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Posted

I just returned today from 2 weeks in the US, so I'm sorry I haven't responded.

Don't know if you realised but there are no long distance charges for accessing a German site in the US. You can actually even log on to Toytown while in the US and no extra cost and with no special settings required. Just a helpful hint from your Unca' BadDoggie.

the quality of medical care for pregnant women ... is generally considered to be equal, if not better,

Better. No hospital will turn you away and send you off on a 2-hour drive over cratered side roads to the town's public assistance hellhole hospital if you're in labor with no insurance card on hand.

woof.

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Posted

I am not sure about this, but I think there might actually be people out there who have better things to do than to go online when they're visiting home for two weeks... :o

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Posted

Thistle

I have to agree with you. I was only too glad to hang out face to face with people instead of over the internet as is my ususal time spent with friends from the states. As for being turned away in labor in the US that is a direct violation of US emergency health care laws. Frankly even the nicest hospitals these days have their "underpreviliged" patients. What does happen is that nicer, i.e prettier not necessarily better hospitals are usually located in nicer neighborhoods so it is easier faster for "previliged" people to get to as well as an ambulance that might pick someone up in that neighborhood whereas "less previliged" people would not be driven there because it is not in their neighborhood. The US health care is uneven in regards to lots of areas however, I can honestly say that in regards to labor and deliver it is very available to all who need it.

As for a meet up for coffee and tea Jilleta I would enjoy that. I live in Schoeneberg. Drop me an email tomorrow and I'll check mine.

M

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Posted

My US doctor gave me some comfort ... and told me ... the quality of medical care for pregnant women ... is generally considered to be equal, if not better, here in Germany.

An understatement. In a 2006 report, of 19 'industrialized' countries (most developed), Germany ranked as high as seven, tying with a few others. The U.S. ranked 18, one above the last, Lithuania.

My partner gives birth in December. I don't know what her Toytown login is or if she has one. You can PM me and I'll pass it on to her. I mostly speak english, but she is fluent in German and English.

You can check out magazines like Eltern and KidsGo, free at family centers and some of the Bio shops. These list the (Berlin) midwives, hospitals and birth houses and what services are provided. Some midwives are junk and won't call you back, others are good at returning calls and coming over.

We don't have much money ourselves; it's possible to get a solid wood baby-bed and good kinderwagon for free by asking around (who the hell would pay 700 euros for a pram anyway?). Also the Moltex diapers at the Bio shops are NOT compostable. Compostable cornstarch-filled diapers are available from a local company.

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Posted

As I said I know a great midwife in Berlin (from Chicago)...

I will pass her phone to anyone in need,

PES

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Posted

Top tips for giving birth in Berlin (I have a 4 month old so have done this recently :D )

1: Do not not not have anything medical done for the baby in the East, always go to the West for this. The paedeatricians in the East have some odd archaic practices.

2: I can strongly recommend Charite Virchow, as they made the effort to ensure that most of the time I was attended by at least one English speaking professional.

3. Get a good midwife, they talk far more sense than most of the doctors. If you are in Mitte/Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain I can suggest Dagmar von Hoetchinen who is lovely but if you go on the Berliner Hebammeverband website (google it) they have a hebamme (midwife) search where you can specify region and language spoken. You need to get a good one ASAP as the best are booked months in advance and they visit you for several weeks after the birth (for the first 10 days it's daily) this is invaluable for 1st timers like I was as they can answer all your questions. If you get a really nice one then you can ring them whenever, even after their responsibility to you is over and they will give you good advice.

4. Unless you want a natural hippy birth with no pain relief and chanting, do not go anywhere near a Geburtshaus. However, if you want to learn about Active Birthing in English the Geburtshaus on Arnimplatz does English antenatal classes (they will however involve singing through contractions and discussions regarding how wonderful an experience it would be to eat your placenta).

Hope to have helped and if you have any further questions feel free to get in contact @ my username @ hotmail.

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Posted

paedeatricians in the East have some odd archaic practices.

You'll be pleased to learn then that my bouncing baby boy was born almost exactly a year ago in a superbly equipped, fantastically staffed and very quiet maternity ward in Köpenick DRK...East Berlin.

Please keep unsubstantiated crap to a minimum.

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Posted

Hello everyone, I hope you have all had great holidays.. I am from Montreal and arrived in Berlin in the beginning of December. I am now almost 8 months pregnant. I have been rushing around trying to find an available midwife. I am crossing my fingers for a reply. Jilleta, I believe we're from the same neighbourhood (I live near Charlottenburg S-Bahn). Since I will be going through the same thing as you, it could be a great idea for us to be in touch. Perhaps we could grab a coffee or something, any afternoon (I don't work). Blusofa, I'd love to chat with you too! Hmmm... sounds like I should start a new "meetups" thread for moms (?)

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