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How and when do I find the right place to give birth?

How and when do I find the right place to give birth?

Choosing the right birth location is one of the most important decisions for parents-to-be. It’s where you lay the foundations for the start of your new life as a family. The importance of this decision is and the impact a “bad” start can have, can be seen in The Roses Revolution movement. This is where women who have experienced obstetric violence, lay down a rose at the scene of the “crime”  to raise awareness of their experiences. Anyone who reads the numerous stories becomes aware of how important the decision of choosing the right place to give birth is, even if carefully considering this decision and making it in plenty of time can’t guarantee the perfect birth experience. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to look for the right place to give birth as early as possible, so you can have a choice in selecting a location.

Because of the catastrophic midwife situation in Germany, which we’ve written about before in German, receiving empathetic support during a birth without any time pressure is becoming increasingly rare. Maternity hospitals have fewer staff for an increasing number of expectant mothers, and midwives at birthing centres (Geburtshaus) or midwives for home births are already fully booked very early in pregnancy. Therefore families should consider various scenarios in advance, making a birth plan which they can refer to, that considers midwife shift changes or unforeseen events during the birth.

Those who want to have as much choice as possible, should consider their preferred birthing location as soon as possible.

If you would like to choose a maternity hospital (Geburtsklinik), then you might come across the term “baby-friendly” (Babyfreundlich). But what does this mean? 

All maternity hospitals that are certified as baby-friendly, fulfil specific criteria such as:

  • Focus on bonding
  • Breastfeeding from the birth
  • Breastfeeding support during the pregnancy 
  • 24-hour rooming-in

as well as impartial recommendations with regards to formula feeding, and have been certified by an external organisation. If you would like to read more about baby-friendly hospitals and criteria, you can find additional information here and here.

Another aspect to consider is the medical care of your newborn. If you are interested in access to a perinatal centre (Perinatalzentrum), there are two levels to look out for: Level 1 or Level 2. These levels indicate how trained and experienced the staff are in dealing with different situations:

Level 1 Centres specialise in:

  • Premature babies with a birth weight under 1250g, or born earlier than 29 weeks,
  • Triplets or more that are born earlier than 33 weeks
  • Pregnant women with foetal or maternal diseases

Level 2 Centres specialise in:

  • Premature babies with a birth weight between 1250g and 1499g, or born between 29 weeks and 31+6 weeks
  • Pregnant women with pregnancy related illnesses e.g. HELLP
  • Pregnant women with diabetes

Each hospital determines how and when you should register to give birth, so we have researched and summarised the most recent information about where you can give birth here in Berlin. You can clearly see that while you have a free choice, there are some limits when it comes to timing:

1 Charite Mitte No registration necessary if the pregnancy is unremarkable, but registration during the available surgery hours is preferred Level 1
2 Charite Virchow Klinikum No registration necessary if the pregnancy is unremarkable, but registration during the available surgery hours is preferred Level 1
3 DRK Kliniken Köpenick from 34 weeks
4 DRK Kliniken Westend from 12 weeks Baby-friendly Level 1
5 Helios Klinikum Buch Dates not specified Level 1
6 Vivantes Friedrichshain 4 to 6 weeks before the due date Baby-friendly Level 1
7 Vivantes Urban 4 to 6 weeks before the due date
8 Maria Heimsuchung from 28 weeks Baby-friendly
9 VivantesHumbold Not specified Baby-friendly
10 Vivantes Kaulsdorf from 35 to 37 weeks
11 Sana Klinikum Lichtenberg 8 weeks before the due date Baby-friendly Level 2
12 Vivantes Klinikum Neukölln Can register very early, then contact them again from 30 to 34 weeks Level 1
13 VivantesAuguste Victoria Klinikum It is possible to make an appointment from 14 weeks Baby-friendly
14 Sankt Joseph From 22 weeks Baby-friendly Level 1
15 Krankenhaus Waldfriede 32 to 34 weeks
16 Martin-Luther Krankenhaus Until 20 weeks Work closely with the Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau (Level 1)
17 Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau 16 to 20 weeks Level 1
18 Sankt Gertrauden Not specified
19 Krankenhaus Havelhöhe Dates for registering are available online. For breech births or twins, registration is possible any time from 20 weeks Baby-friendly

 

1 Geburtshaus Kreuzberg According to midwife availability
2 Geburtshaus Maja According to midwife availability
3 Geburtshaus und Hebammenpraxis am Märchenbrunnen According to midwife availability
4 Geburtshaus Hellersdorf According to midwife availability
5 Geburtshaus Müggelsee According to midwife availability
6 Geburtshaus Schöneberg According to midwife availability
7 Geburtshaus Charlottenburg According to midwife availability

A cautious warning to nyone who assumes that it is the hospital’s duty to accept an expectant woman in labour in an emergency situation: more frequently we read and hear stories of women in labour being turned away from hospitals because of overcrowding, regardless of whether they were registered there or not. This German article in the Berliner Morgenpost describes such a situation:

If a maternity hospital informs the emergency operations center that they are at maximum capacity, the ambulances will no longer drive to that maternita ward. It may happen that if a pregnant woman needs to be brought to the hospital by ambulance, she may not end up in her preferred clinic, despite having registered in advance.

Unfortunately, registering in advance is not something you can rely on!

So, how should you go about choosing where to give birth?

  • As soon as you know you are pregnant, research the birth clinics or centres and visit them.
  • Find an appropriate midwife for your chosen location, as early as the first trimester.
  • Register and the birth clinic or centre as soon as possible, if necessary registering at two places where you can give birth.

This way you have a choice!

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Why choose maternita?

  • High-quality, low-stress, time-saving solutions for parents and parents-to-be
  • Access to a wide network of local, English-speaking experts
  • Assistance, support and help, even in the most unusual of situations
  • Discounts and special conditions through cooperation partners

Contact us

Lorna Ather Maternity Concierge & Baby Planner

Ulrike Käfer & Inga Sarrazin GbR, “maternita”

Schönhauser Allee 74,
10437 Berlin / Germany

Phone: (030) 98 32 33 40
Email: info@maternita.de

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