Or perhaps where you come from pregnant women receive advice and support during pregnancy from women with experience, from their own mothers, sisters or girlfriends.
In Germany, pregnancy counselling is also available in addition to the support provided by your friends and relatives.
You are entitled to a comprehensive midwife service.
You might find yourself feeling alone with questions, worries, fears and even with the prospect of your baby's arrival.
If you have no idea about healthcare in Germany, medical check-ups during pregnancy, the services provided for giving birth or the care provided for mothers and babies after the birth, we will be pleased to advise, inform and accompany you.
A midwife is a woman who is trained in all matters related to pregnancy, birth and childcare. Midwives have completed specialised, comprehensive training courses.
You can talk to your midwife about how care services in your country may differ from those in Germany.
The midwife will advise and support you both during and after the birth. She is bound by confidentiality and is not permitted to talk to anyone about you or exchange information without your consent.
All midwife services are free of charge for you.
Your midwife can assist you in all matters related to diet, sexuality, partnership, problems during pregnancy, such as nausea, heartburn, back pain, premature labour and any fears you may have.
She will help you if you do not know what you or your baby will need.
The midwife can also perform all medical check-ups, except ultrasound examinations.
You can have your doctor or midwife perform your check-ups, or you can alternate between the two.
The midwife will talk to you about where you want to give birth. She will offer classes where you can prepare for the birth. Classes are available once a week or over several weeks, or you can attend a compact course, for instance, on one weekend. Some places may even offer courses in your language with an interpreter present. Some antenatal classes are for women only; others are also open to the fathers-to-be. You decide which class suits you best. These classes explain what happens during birth, how pain can be relieved and you will be given plenty of advice and tips on those first important minutes and hours with your baby, on breastfeeding, diet and baby care.
The midwife accompanies and supports the birth. She will show you positions, exercises and breathing techniques that can help you giving birth. She is there to help ensure that mother and baby are safe and sound. If problems arise, she will call on a doctor to assist.
In the first couple of days mother and baby can stay at the hospital or, if everything went well, they can go home after a few hours (referred to as an 'outpatient birth'). Your midwife will then visit you and your baby at your home or accommodation.
In the first ten days after giving birth, the midwife will come every day, and then several times in the first few weeks. If you have difficulties breastfeeding or dietary questions, you can also contact your midwife at a later point in time.
The midwife checks to ensure that both mother and baby are healthy. She can advise you on breastfeeding or on baby formula, on how to take care of your baby, she will check your baby's belly button, its weight and will be pleased to assist you if you have questions or are not sure about something.
A 'family midwife' can accompany you through your baby's first year. To find out more, contact your pregnancy counsellor.
It is very important that you feel secure and well looked after during this special time when you become a mother or parents. As soon as you are 12 weeks pregnant, find a midwife to support you. Midwives in Germany are very busy. If you leave it too late (i.e. waiting until the end of your pregnancy), you may not be able to find a midwife. If you need help looking for a midwife, please feel free to contact the pregnancy counselling service at donum vitae.