Berlin has been a very popular city for quite some time now. Every year many people from all over the world decide that they want to live in Berlin. This makes Berlin a very multicultural city and also means that people from all over the world are starting a family in Berlin. When you are not originally from Berlin and expecting a baby you will find out soon enough that some things work different in Berlin than they used to back home. Therefore, in this article, we focus on things you have to keep in mind when you are expecting a baby in Berlin.
Did you know? More than 34.000 babies are born in Berlin every year!
Expecting a baby in Berlin
We are currently expecting a baby in Berlin. Last summer (2017) we got married and we are hoping to have our first child in the summer of 2018. Because I was born in the Netherlands I cannot ask my parents or sisters for their experiences when it comes to things you have to take care of when you are expecting a baby. Therefore we learned some things the hard way and other things we are still finding out while writing this article. Expecting a baby in Berlin should be a fun time and you should still enjoy nice activities with your partner, just do not forget to arrange some things in time.
6 tips for future parents
For some of you it might be hard to understand what things you have to get arranged when you are expecting a baby in Berlin. You might not speak fluent German or you might be used to different procedures from back home. For all of you I have tried to summarise some of the problems we have met and heard about during our pregnancy. Especially if you are expecting for the first time it’s all new and some help will probably be more than welcome.
Below you can find six tips for future parents in Berlin. They summarise some things you have to arrange when you are expecting a baby. It can be a real pain if you forget one of these. Please let us know if you have any tips yourself, we might add them to the list so we can all help each other.
Tip 1: Start looking for a midwife a.s.a.p.
Let me explain why this is the most important tip of all: We contacted about 80 different midwives before we found one who was available. There are not that much midwives in Berlin and this means it is hard to find one anyway. If you are expecting a baby in the summer you will have an even harder time finding a midwife because many of them will plan their holidays around that time. It is best to start searching for one as soon as you know you are expecting a baby.
Did you know? The German word for midwife is Hebamme. Before searching for a midwife in Berlin, you have to choose between a normal hebamme or a beleghebamme. The latter will be around during labour but you will also have to pay for her privately. It will cost roughly 300-400€. Choose which kind of midwife you want before starting your search.
Tip 2: If you cannot find one midwife, find two
If you really cannot find a midwife which is available before and after the birth of your baby, try to find two separate ones to do the job. Often midwives turn you down because they are not available the whole period, but sometimes they are actually available for a few weeks. If the first one leaves, the second one jumps in and finishes the job. The good thing is that you will also have two women to contact with questions.
Tip 3: Choose to give birth at home (Hausgeburt)
If you like to give birth on your own surroundings, you can also choose to give birth to your baby at home. In German this is called a Hausgeburt. Giving birth at home actually helps both the mother and the child because they are both more relaxed. The only thing you really need to hope for is that no complications will arise, because than you will have to go to the hospital after all. Another benefit regarding the search for a midwife is the fact that because not many people choose this option, the midwives specialised in this are often still available.
Tip 4: Do not forget about the daycare
Living in a popular place like Berlin is awesome but also has its’s disadvantages. The first three tips already described it quite precisely: There are many people who are expecting a baby in Berlin around the same time as you. This also means that many people will be looking for a daycare around the same time, which meant it can become problematic to find a daycare for when you both want to start working again. If you moved to Berlin from a different country chances are big you do not have your parents in town, which means you need a so called KITA. Friends of us had to start using their holiday because they did not found a daycare on time, so make sure you search as soon as possible.
Some daycares do not allow you to sign up if your baby is not born yet but it makes sense to go there anyway and meet some of the people who are working there. The earlier you get this done, the better.
Tip 5: Are you married? Switch tax-classes
Some of you will probably be married. Then this tip is interesting for you, especially when you are married and expecting. Normally, when you are married in Germany, you should both be in tax-class 4. This is not a problem but you can make some easy money when you switch classes. Either you or your partner can go into tax-class 3 and pay less tax. In Germany you are allowed to switch tax-classes once a year so if you are disappointed about the result you can always switch back the year after.
Did you know? It is best to let a specialist look at your specific situation and salaries but in general there are two rules of thumb: If you are both earning about the same salary: Put the person who is going to take more parental leave in tax-class 3. In most cases this will be your wife, she will get 65% of her previous salary and it might be useful to make that amount a bit higher. If one of you is earning a lot more than the other: Put the person who earns more into class 3 because this will save you some money in the end.
Tip 6: Visit several birth-clinics + Signup early enough
It is really important that your wife/partner feels comfortable in the clinic where she has to give birth.When you are expecting a baby in Berlin the good thing is that you can choose between many birth-clinics, hospitals and other places to give birth. It all depends on what you like the most: We personally like a small and cosy place but there also are quite a few very good big places in Berlin. Whatever you decide, it is important that you visit the place you want to give birth before signing up there. Let them give you a tour through the clinic and answer all the questions you might have.
Did you know? Most birth-clinics in Berlin have very strict rules when it comes to signing up. The smaller clinics actually want you to sign-up exactly in week 28+0. The larger birth-clinics in Berlin usually just let you come in when the time has come but some of them also expect a sign-up about 10 weeks before labour.
Obviously there will be more things you have to keep in mind when you are expecting a baby in Berlin. We might update this article in the next months and also love to hear from you if you have any tips for our readers.