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Are you pregnant and you are looking for the perfect midwife for you. But which midwife is right for you? Attending midwife, employed midwife, birth center midwife, breastfeeding midwife – so many different midwives.
And then you also have the choice of whether your midwife accompanies you as a staff midwife or only during the birth, whether she does all the necessary examinations during pregnancy and is also there for you in the postpartum period.
We explain what you need to know about a midwife, what a midwife association is and how you can find your midwife.
You should look for your midwife as early as possible in your pregnancy. Because accompanying a birth require you to build a lot of trust with your midwife and that takes time.
You need to get to know each other, build a relationship of trust and discuss many things. But before we go into more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of a live-in midwife and tell you how much it costs to be cared for by a live-in midwife, there are a few things you should know:
You are allowed to have every single check-up, starting with the pregnancy test, done by midwives. The health insurance companies pay for the examinations in this case.
They will also pay if you have them done by a gynecologist. But the examination by midwives has advantages: The freelance ladies often do not maintain their own practice.
They make house calls and simply bring the medical equipment you need with them. So you won’t have to go to a doctor’s office for a urine test, CTG or ultrasound, but can make appointments at home.
You don’t have to wait for hours in a crowded waiting room. This is not only convenient for women with small children, but for all working people.
In addition, midwives usually have more time than gynecologists and perform fewer additional examinations. They keep to the minimum number of examinations that can be billed to the health insurance company if there is no medical indication.
Conversely, your midwife will always tell you immediately if a further examination is advisable. The repertoire of most midwives includes an almost inexhaustible fund of knowledge.
They know a lot about alternative healing methods, offer massages, acupuncture, gymnastics, homeopathy and more. So you’re probably also less stressed, have fewer worries and fewer appointments.
Your midwife handles the maternity passport in the same way as the gynecologist. Everything important is conscientiously entered.
Birth Preparation Courses Offered By Midwives
The birth preparation course is also paid for by the health insurance. You can take this course with a midwife, but sometimes it is also offered by physiotherapists.
The courses take place close to home in physical therapy practices, clinics or birth centers. There are usually five to ten women enrolled in a course.
If you contact your live-in midwife early in your pregnancy, she will “put” you in one of her classes that coincides with your pregnancy and expected due date.
Birth At Home, Hospital Or Birth Center?
Most women give birth in a hospital. Why is that? After all, there are other options: In addition to an inpatient birth, you can opt for an outpatient birth, can give birth in a birth center or even at your home.
If the pregnancy is normal and there are no risks, there is usually no need for a doctor.
The midwife (unlike doctors) is allowed to attend a birth alone. Many midwives are even allowed to do the first examination of the newborn after birth, so that the pediatrician is not needed until the third or fourth stage of the child’s life.
In the birth center you have rooms with all the necessary equipment, but much more intimate and pleasant atmosphere than in the hospital. And a few midwives also attend births at home with you.
If you are specifically looking for a home birth midwife, you can contact the midwives association. However, home birth midwives have become somewhat rare in recent years, so you may not have that option in your area.
By the way, many homebirth midwives are also attending midwives at the local hospital – so you keep both options open.
Postpartum: The Midwife Takes Over The Aftercare
The work of your midwife is not over with the birth. She will visit you in the hospital, in the birth center and at home during the first few weeks with your child.
She will help you with diapering and breastfeeding, and can offer breastfeeding and babywearing advice.
And she is there for you with all your questions about the child. Freelance midwives who are not contracted as an attending midwife with the hospital where you give birth are not there for you again until you get home.
Regression: So That Everything Is Back The Way It Was
Pregnancy and childbirth change the female body. Your ligaments stretch, the tissue becomes softer, the organs shift. To ensure that everything is back in place and doing its job after the birth, you should do postnatal exercises.
This can be done up to about four weeks after the birth. The courses are paid for by your health insurance and take place in clinics, in physical therapy facilities – and with your midwife.
Or with a freelance midwife, physical therapist or physiotherapist.
Everything From One Source
This is always advertised: If it is to be a round thing, everything must come from a single source. Building a house, buying a car, designing a garden – the slogan runs through all areas of life.
And what about you and your child? If you want “everything from a single source”, a midwife is just the right thing for you.
Your midwife will accompany you through your pregnancy, be with you at the birth in the clinic (or at home if you wish and if possible), and be there for you during the postpartum period and during breastfeeding counseling.
She will take care of you during postpartum and breastfeeding counseling. She can even help you if you are planning to have more children.
Many midwives offer more than just gymnastics, birth and postpartum. They accompany you through pregnancy with yoga or aqua gymnastics and swimming classes, and get you fit again after birth with Pilates, yoga and other sports.
And you are at the center of everything: your midwife accompanies you the whole time and is there for you. She knows your history.
She knows exactly what problems you might have had during your pregnancy and can respond to you much better than a midwife on shift at the hospital.
She will discuss with you already during the pregnancy how you imagine the birth, what you expect from her. And she will take notes – so she always knows exactly what is going on.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Midwife
The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, let’s be honest. Because a midwife can accompany you from conception until well after the postpartum period.
You have already read a lot about this: The midwife knows you very well due to the accompaniment through pregnancy and can respond to you and your needs both in human and medical terms very well.
The possibility of home visits during pregnancy and breastfeeding takes the pressure off you. For most women, the midwife becomes a loyal friend and confidant during pregnancy, who gets a fairly deep insight into family life. This is part of the job.
However, there is also a disadvantage to choosing a midwife: you are not completely free to choose the maternity clinic.
This means that your midwife is only present at the birth in those clinics with which she has a corresponding contract.
If you choose a private clinic or go to a hospital other than the one you have chosen because of overcrowding, your midwife will not be with you.
And you pay for the on-call time of your midwife yourself, at least proportionally.
German Midwives Association: Midwives Are Organized
Like many other professional groups, midwives have organized themselves. “Deutscher Hebammenverband” is the name of the largest midwives’ association in Germany.
As an umbrella organization, the association looks after the political interests of midwives, negotiates with insurance companies, and organizes everything from training and continuing education to information evenings and midwife searches.
If you want to find out more, simply enter “German Midwives Association” in a search engine of your choice. You will get the website of the association.
However, you can also look at the websites of other midwifery associations: The midwives of larger cities, individual regions and even the federal states are each organized in their own associations.
So the German Midwives Association is not everything – there are sub-associations.
The Most Important Thing: What Does It Cost To Be A Midwife?
Nothing. Of course, midwifery is a profession that gets the respective ladies and, more recently, gentlemen through their lives financially. But the services of midwives are for the most part covered by health insurance.
The costs are covered for birth preparation and preventive examinations during pregnancy, as well as for the birth itself, postnatal care, breastfeeding instructions and even the postnatal regression course.
The flat rate charged by home birth midwives and midwives on call around the time of birth is not covered – but health insurance companies will cover these costs, at least on a pro-rata basis.
In most cases, you will have to calculate between 200 and 500 euros of your own contribution. Your German Midwives Association provides more detailed information about cost coverage on its website.
There you will also find more information about the services offered by midwives in your region, which midwives work in your area, and more.