Prenatal Care (Vorsorgeuntersuchungen)

Information about the care and support provided for expectant mothers in Germany...

Almost all prenatal examinations can be done by midwives or doctors, the only exception is the ultrasound examination which must be done by a gynaecologist.

  • At the initial examination a general case history is assessed from blood and urine samples taken and tested to determine iron levels, resistance to rubella and toxoplasmosis and other infections. Results are recorded in the Mutterpass
  • At all regular examinations blood pressure and weight are monitored and urine samples analysed
  • Blood is checked at least twice during pregnancy for iron levels and cell counts
  • The heartbeat of the foetus is also monitored

Every pregnant woman is entitled to adequate antenatal examinations on recommendation by the gynaecologist. These are reimbursed by the health insurance companies. For the unemployed the welfare state covers these costs. Working women are entitled to paid leave to attend check-up appointments.

Check-ups are normally once every month up until the 32nd week of pregnancy where it changes to every two weeks. Three ultrasound examinations are given in the third, sixth and eighth month of the pregnancy. However, as most gynaecologists have ultrasound equipment in their surgery it is not uncommon for scans to be done at each visit. Scans may also be done more regularly if any risks or complications arise. At 20 to 22 weeks some gynaecologists may recommend a 4D scan (Feinultraschall) usually performed by a specialist gynaecological practice which provides a more detailed image of the foetus.

Finding a midwife

Under the terms of German statutory health insurance regular sessions with a midwife (Hebamme) are paid for during pregnancy as well as the costs of aftercare for up to eight weeks following the birth. Daily visits by a midwife until the baby is ten days old are also covered. Those insured privately should check their insurance policy to see what costs are covered.

The HebammenSuche website has a directory of midwives (in German) and a search facility for finding midwives based on the languages they speak, their location and the facilities they offer including antenatal (Geburtsvorbereitungs) and postnatal classes and home births. Hospitals and birthing clinics (Geburtshaeusern) also have lists of the midwives who work there.

In some hospitals (check beforehand) it is possible for the patient to take their own midwife into the delivery room, but the hospital midwife must usually perform the delivery.