So you’ve just found out you are pregnant, and have heard about the midwife shortage in Berlin. Yes, it is tough to find an English speaking midwife in Berlin but not impossible! Like a doula, midwifery care is not mandatory for your birth experience but it can be an incredible form of support during an important moment in your life. If you do choose to work with a midwife, they can cover things like prenatal care and checkups (alongside or in replacement of your OB/GYN) and postnatal care with things like checking how you are healing from birth, checking in on your baby’s weight and development.
You still may be confused about which type of midwife is right for you. Here is a list of the types you can find here in Berlin:
Prenatal Midwife (Vorsorgehebamme)- Someone who can support you prenatally and do check ups either in your home or in their office. This is covered by your German health insurance.
Home birth Midwife (Hausgeburthebamme)- A midwife who you will get to know during your pregnancy, be there for your home birth, and then will sometimes care for you after you give birth. This is partially covered by your German health insurance.
Hospital Midwife (Hebamme)- The midwives who will be there to support you when you are in labor at the hospital. You will likely never have met these midwives before and you may have the support of a few different midwives depending on how long your labor is. This is covered by your insurance.
Attending Midwife (Beleghebamme)- A midwife who you can hire to work with your prenatally, during your birth in a hospital and sometimes postpartum. These midwives work with specific hospitals and are the rarest of midwives in Berlin. In order to work with one, you will have to inquire very early in your pregnancy and find them through your desired hospital's list of Beleghebammen. This is partially covered by your German health insurance.
Postpartum Midwife (Nachsorgehebamme)- A midwife who will come to your home over the first few weeks after giving birth. Typically they visit every days for the first week and then every 1-3 days depending on your need. This is covered entirely by your German health insurance.
Because it has become so tough, I’ve discovered a list of ways my clients have had success in finding their midwife.
Here are a few tips to help get you started on your search for a midwife: 1. Try getting in touch with midwives as early into your pregnancy as possible because their availability to support clients gets filled up pretty quickly. Especially if you live in areas like Mitte, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, PrenzlauerBerg, and Friedrichshain. You may still be able to find them in your third trimester but searching earlier on can help secure your midwife. 2. You can use this website to search for midwives in your area who best suit all of your personal needs. If you don’t speak German, try using a website translator or your browser to help with language. In your search you can include if you are looking for a home birth midwife (Hausgeburt), a midwife to also accompany you at the hospital (Beleggeburt), pregnancy support (Schwangerinvorsorge), Birth preparation (Geburtsvorbereitung), after birth support (Wochenbettbetreuung) and postnatal fitness class (Rückbildungskurs). You can also include the language you would like your care to be in your search. I recommend getting
in contact with everyone that fits your search and keep a list of the midwives you have contacted. If there are no positive responses from your first round, reach out again a few weeks later. Sometimes schedules change for midwives who weren’t originally available.
3. Berliner Hebammenvermittlung is a great site you can use to input your information anonymously and receive availability responses from midwives there. Sadly it doesn’t specify language but your responses can be filtered then.
4. The next step in your search should be to write a post on the facebook group “Hebammenvermittlung Berlin”. Include in your post your estimated due date, your preferred language, and the district you live in. Continue to post in this group every month or so if your search hasn’t been successful so far. You can also ask your doula to post there for you. Sometimes midwives enjoy working alongside certain doulas and may be more open to make space for their clients. And in a last minute pinch, I would post in the group one last time just after giving birth. Especially during summer or winter holiday times, many midwives go on holiday so they can’t technically be on-call for a birth. But if your baby arrives, and a midwife’s schedule is open they may be able to take you on as a client for postnatal care.
5. Ask your friends who they had as midwives and reach out to them. Remember that not everyone’s preferences of birth support will be the same. So speak to your friend and ask about what their wishes and experience were like with their midwife.
6. Hire a Maternity Concierge like Elodie at Baby in Berlin to support you in your midwife search.
If none of these options are successful for you, get in touch with your doula and ask about which other ways you can tighten your community, find additional resources, and prepare for your birth and fourth trimester. A doula can’t replace midwifery care but they can offer many ways to help you feel supported into your transition into parenthood.