Postnatal Care

Find out about postnatal care for you and your newborn baby in Germany…

After the birth the midwife will visit daily until the baby is ten days old. She will check the physical health of the mother and baby and provide practical advice on baby care. Even after the baby is ten days old home visits or telephone advice can be sought from a midwife and the costs are covered by statutory health insurance up to eight weeks after the birth.

In addition to the midwife's visits a statutory examination by a gynaecologist is given between six and eight weeks after the birth to check the physical wellbeing of the mother and is recorded in the Mutterpass. Some midwives also hold postnatal classes for strengthening the pelvic floor (Beckenbodenrueckbildung) and the costs of these are covered by the health insurance.

The child's health record

A child health record (Kinder-Untersuchungsheft) is given to the mother following the birth and must be taken to every medical consultation (Untersuchung) the child has until they are five years of age. It is used to record the developmental progress of the child including height, weight, vision and hearing as well as any tests which may be carried out. The health record also lists how old a child should be for each statutory developmental examination.

The first examination "U1" is done as soon as the baby is born. Its immediate status of health and the technical details of the birth are recorded on the first page. The baby must be taken to a paediatrician (Kinderarzt) for a second examination, "U2" when it is between three and ten days old and for a third, and a “U3”, when it is four to five weeks old.

Vaccinations

In Germany vaccinations are voluntary not mandatory.

Vaccinations are recorded in a small international (printed in German, English and French) certificate of vaccination (Internationale Bescheinigungen ueber Impfungen und Impfbuch) which accompanies the child's health record. This details the manufacturer and batch number of the vaccine, the date the vaccine was given, the disease it protects against and the signature of the person administering it.

The first course of vaccinations starts when the baby is two months old. In Germany a "6-in-1" vaccination is given against whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis (Hib), hepatitis B and polio and the dose is repeated twice at approximately six weekly intervals.

The first dose of the MMR vaccine is recommended for babies between 12 and 15 months old followed by a second dose between the ages of 16-24 months.