Friday, 8 April 2011

Finding a Midwife in Berlin

Coming from the UK, I always assumed that your midwife would be appointed by your chosen hospital. In Germany there are broadly speaking two different types of midwifes, or Hebammen. Firstly there are those midwives who are stationed at the hospital or birthing centre (Gerburtshaus) Beleghebamme and they will guide you through the birth process at your chosen hospital or clinic.

Then there are those midwives Hebamme who are with you throughout your pregnancy and birth (whether at home, in the birthing centre, or hospital) and also provide postpartum care. The midwife is also there is guide you through your birthing options and to discuss any decisions you are making regarding the birth. It is however your birth and your body so don't underestimate how intimate this journey is - you need to feel comfortable with the decisions you are making at all times.

The Hebamme will come to your home for regular prenatal check ups – they can essentially do all the regular checks that your gynecologist (Frauenartzt) can do, with the exception of scans.

They will be at your birth where/however you decide to do it and can come to your home as often as you like for up to eight weeks after the birth, and act as a Doula (usually, Doulas are non-medical, non-midwifes who are trained to help you after the birth).
Your midwife is there to ask questions about your birth and to help with with your individual birthing plan. Remember the plan must be your choice, you must feel comfortable being with the care you are receiving.

Your health insurance should cover the basic costs of the midwife and you then pay an extra €300 for their services.

I found a wonderful Hebamme called Magdalena Saß after searching for English-speaking midwives who work in the Wedding district, using the Hebammen Berlin website.

The website list a wide midwives from all over Berlin and each has their own speacialities and many different languages are spoken. Asking friends advice is another way of finding someone suitable. At my last visit to the Frauenartz I was given a pamplet which listed the same info as the websites.
I liked Magdalena’s profile as she speaks English and specialises in natural care, but understands the need for medical intervention when necessary.

Currently I see both my Frauenartzt Isobel and midwife Magdalena once a month, which means the baby is checked every two weeks – which iswonderful. I enjoy the differences between the two women. Isobel has the medical role and gives me advice on how to stay healthy and with her we have regular scans to see how the baby is progressing. As Magdalena comes to our home I find myself more relaxed and asking lots of questions about the baby and birth and can pick her brains to draw upon her wealth of knowledge and experience.

Once you have found someone that works in your area, here are some questions to conisder asking:

How long has she been a midwife?
How many births has she attended?
How many other women does she have that are due around the same time?
What are the services she provides?
What is her approach to births? (natural, intervention)
What is her approach to breast-feeding?
Which hospitals or Gerburthaus does she recommend?

I have loved having a midwife, she has been really supportive to me over the last few weeks and has the warmth and kindness that I don't expect from my doctor (although i like her too). I trust my midwife and listen to her advice, which at the moment consists of relaxing, not reading too many books on births and listening to your body. I hope that you too find someone you are happy with. 

Key words
Geburtsvorbereitung – Birth preparation 
Vorsorge und Nachsorge – Prevention and Care 
Stillberatung – Breastfeeding counciling 
Rückbildungsgymnastik –Postnatal exercises 
Akupunktur und Homöopathie - Acupuncture and Homeopathy

Other useful websites


  1. that's really good advice. My midwife was great, and I still meet up with her for a cuppa (she's australian).
    She gave me stomach massages after the birth (C-Section) and gave me all sorts of homeopathic things to help with all sorts of things, plus advice and reassurance about breastfeeding. Like you say, it's nice to have the balance of someone more medical and then someone a bit more 'earthy'.
    I valued her coming round every day for the 2 weeks after the birth so much!
    Glad you've found someone you like.

  2. Thanks for the great advice. it was actually really informative!

    <3 Belly B