May I introduce myself? My name is Katrin, I am 30 years old, for the first time pregnant and live in Hamburg. What worries me most? The search for a midwife – an impossibility.
Finding a midwife in German cities is about as entertaining as finding a rental apartment – so pure luck, the nervous goes to the substance . I am in the 28th week of pregnancy and have given up the midwifery search. I simply resigned.
When did I start inquiring about midwives? Around the 13th (!) Week, just before my gynecologist confirmed to me that the “critical” first trimester is over. On December 24, 2018, I sent my first request to a midwife, with the information that I would presumably release on June 21, 2019, and would be happy to receive a midwife for the childbed. The answers I got were:
- “unfortunately I will not work as a midwife next year”
- “unfortunately I’m on vacation during this period”
- “unfortunately I am already booked out”
- No Answer
Fully booked, retrained, no answer
By the 9th of January alone, ie in a timeframe of about two weeks, I asked for the 20 midwives. I did not get a positive answer. It went on for a few frustrating weeks, until I gave up looking for it. In any case, the likelihood of finding a midwife will be less and less, the closer the delivery date approaches.
Who is to blame for the midwife dilemma? Certainly not the midwives themselves. The 3 most common reasons why every fifth expectant mother has to give up a midwife are:
- Lack of availability of a midwife in the environment
- Lack of knowledge that a legal right to a midwife exists
- too long or too late search for a midwife
Every fifth mother can not find a midwife
In my case, the first thing seems to be true: lack of availability. I know about my legal right to a midwife (from the birth to the twelfth week of life of the baby) and I can not blame myself for starting the search too late. And anyway: nada. Fact is simple: There is a horrendous shortage of midwives in Germany . Their liability insurance has been increased, the pay is borderline, health insurance companies force them to a time-consuming quality management – numerous midwives are giving up their profession and schooling.
Midwife art is one of the oldest arts in the world. It was already mentioned in the third millennium before (!) Christ. It is a profession with tradition, history. Midwives have a unique birth experience and phenomenal empathy. In Germany, there must be midwives at births in clinics who help the laborer to process labor and respond to their wishes.
During the subsequent childbirth care a midwife is the new mother with help and advice. From breastfeeding advice to nutrition tips, from the monitoring of regression processes to birth-related dam injuries, she retains the overview. The midwife can also help with recovery gymnastics and in case of postpartum depression. All in all, it seems indispensable. And yet: for me she falls away.
What to do if you can not find a midwife for a childbed?
I am now beginning to inquire about what to do in this case – after all, I am just one of many expectant mothers who have to give up the childbirth care.
Possible solutions: On the one hand, you can probably still address the problem in the delivery room and hope that a midwife employed at the hospital will be free and will take care of the childbirth. If this is not the case, one must resort to outpatient midwifery care or midwifery practices , where you go every few days eg for weighing the baby.
I am pregnant for the first time and hope that my birth will go well. Nevertheless, I know more than enough mothers who assured me how physically in the end you are after a birth. In this state – including aching abdomen – to tinker through Hamburg , makes me now awestruck solidify.
Midwife clinics, paediatricians, gynecologists
If I have questions about child development, I should call, according to the recommendations, with a pediatrician . I have already bought trustworthy books on the topic . Scars and wounds in the vaginal and perineal area should be checked with the gynecologist .
That all sounds like comprehensible alternatives. In my eyes, however, none of this can replace a trusted midwife.
What can be done in the long term? Midwives and activists have started a wonderful action called Lieber Jens , which is addressed to our Health Minister Jens Spahn. At www.lieberjens.de they point to the problem in the midwifery industry:
- significant lack of midwives
- understaffed delivery rooms
- overcrowded delivery rooms
- Lack of midwifery offers
- Overload of (still) practicing midwives
- the ghastly fact that more and more women do not find postpartum treatment.
Digital postcard to Health Minister Spahn
On the website you can draw attention to his own circumstance and send a digital postcard to Spahn . I participated in the category of women without midwife . The ready-made text, in which one only has to enter the individual numbers, hits the nail on the head:
“Dear Jens, we have to talk: I am pregnant Since the XX week of pregnancy I am looking for a midwife I have already contacted XX midwives Of these I have reached XX midwives in person and XX have returned to me Now pregnant for XX weeks and still have not found a midwife My dear Jens Spahn, what should I do now?!? “
I hope that many pregnant women participate in this action . It would be too great a loss if one of the oldest arts in the world dies out: the midwife.
All pregnant women out there who have not found a midwife, I wish a complication-free childbirth and a relaxed as possible puerperium without incident.
One more thing: If a midwife in Hamburg reads this and from 21 June 2019 has time for Wochenbettbesuche: Please get in touch …