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!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am Thistles husband :ph34r:

Congrats :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

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

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

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

I will pass her phone to anyone in need,

PES

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (?)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hello New to Berlin

You are right we have kind of dropped the ball on meeting up with people. We got together once but then with the holidays, we have not done anything further. Would love to meet up again. Charlottenburg/Schoeneberg would be great. I live in Shoeneberg. As for information, you should decide on a hospital quickly and engage a midwife or MD. A referral from your old doctor would have been best, otherwise I would call the Charite Virchow clinic, the level III center and referal hospital for Berlin and see what they recommend. All the best.

Monique (blusofa)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm up for meeting anytime!

About midwives- I don't know how crucial it is to engage a midwife outside of the one you meet from the hospital, who will then be assigned to you for postnatal care. it depends on what you'd like your midwife to do = do you want her to help you before you give birth, and have her come to your house and teach you breathing techniques? do you want her help for mostly after the baby is born? because of labor laws, just because you hire someone that you want, doesn't mean she'll actually be there when it's time to start pushing, depending on how long your labor lasts. If you engage a midwife, and you call her when you go into labor, after 8 or 9 hours, she's going home, because she's supposed to. Yes, you can call her when your labor has progressed, and then she'll help with your delivery.

You should definitely contact a hospital. We wound up only seeing one so far, but we have a "slot" and a few months before i'll deliver, i'm supposed to contact them regarding my birth plan, and supposedly, i'll meet some midwives then. if you're a private insurance patient, most likely, the head of the department will deliver your baby, but the midwives will be there beforehand, and afterwards.

Something that i'd like to do in the next few months is to take a refresher first-aid class-for infant cpr, choking, all that lovely stuff. I know that it's offered, but it'd be great if we could organize a bunch of english-speakers into one of those, and instead of sitting through the german stuff, we could ask them to instruct in english. Any thoughts?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Jilletta,which hospital did u register with? Have any of you enrolled in any birthing courses? I think I heard that there is one in English. If any of you have any knowledge of that, I would appreciate it. Im up for meeting again. :).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi, I'm an American midwife working here in Berlin. I had talked to Jilleta, but some of the info in her reply isn't quite on the mark. In terms of midwives, there are free-lance midwives (Beleghebamme) who have a contract with a specific hospital and can use the services of a hospital with their own patients who they take care of during the pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and post partum. This kind of midwife usually requires that the pregnant woman pay an "on-call" fee from 150-300 Euro. The midwife can set this fee herself. Insurance companies don't usually cover it. The midwife, through a contract, promises to accompany you to the hospital and deliver your baby, if this takes two hours or 24 hours...or more. There is no law regarding how long she is allowed to stay with you. At some point, though, the midwife might have to interrupt her care of you, in which case the staff midwives will take over. I've experienced this only once, though. The advantage of is kind of care is that you know the midwife who will be delivering your baby. Otherwise, a pregnant woman can have a midwife during pregnancy and post partum, who, not only teaches her to breathe, but also visits to help with the problems that can show up during pregnancy, including just plain old fears. Post partum visits are anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 weeks, and includes care of the cord stump, breastfeeding, weighing your baby to make sure it's gaining properly, checking the involution of your uterus, helping you bathe your baby the first time, etc... Most midwives talk to you at some point about sexuality after delivering a baby, which is for most women a relief to talk about it. The first time after can be scary. Insurance covers these visits, and since they usually last an hour and are in your home, they are often a welcome change to the quick visits at the doctor's office. Midwives on staff at a hospital are not required to do your post partum care, often they work full-time and simply don't have the time to do home visits in addition to a 40 plus hour week. But you can get lucky. Being privately insured also doesn't insure that the head doctor will be at your delivery. Many don't come on the weekend or at night, in which case an "Oberarzt" or obstetric specialist will come. They are usually fantastic and sometimes just as competant, if not better, than the head doctor. Midwifery laws in Germany are very strict. A midwife must deliver your baby, whether you're privately insured or not, unless the delivery is forceps, vacuum or c-section, in which case a midwife is still required by law to be at the delivery. In all my experience working at different hospitals in Berlin, I have never experienced a head doctor doing a normal delivery. (But there may be exceptions, can only speak for my experience.)

Hope this helps.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hello all

i am up for meeting next week anytime. Would anyone like to meet say midweek in the afternoon. Coffee/Tee sort of thing?? Sorry I did not contact sooner. I was struck by the bug that seems to be floating around Berlin last week. All the best to everyone.

Monique

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now