If you translate the name of this profession from German, it will sound like “midwife”. Most often, when we hear about obstetricians, we imagine women helping with childbirth. In Germany, this specialty includes not only participation in childbirth, but many other tasks. It can be said that Hebamme is the guardian angel of a woman during pregnancy, during childbirth and in the first months of a child’s life.
To understand the multi-tasking of German midwives, I want to start by describing the areas of their work.
Midwives in Germany
There are different opportunities and places where midwives apply their knowledge and skills:
A) as an employee:
- in the maternity ward,
- in the postpartum unit,
- in the inpatient department of pathology of pregnancy,
- at school parents.
B) on a fee basis (PE):
- birth assistance at home,
- in the hospital,
- in the private practice of a midwife,
- as an individual midwife for childbirth at one of the maternity hospitals partners.
С) as a midwife in other work areas:
- Advisory activities in the social sphere, for example, in health care offices, family obstetric projects, family counseling centers, etc.
- Participation in a professional association at the state or federal level.
- Education in schools and kindergartens about childbirth and breastfeeding.
So what is the responsibility of Hebamme?
The activities of midwives include antenatal care and antenatal counseling, pregnancy detection and support, preparation for childbirth and maternity, infant care courses, obstetric care in a clinic, at home or in a midwifery institution. They also inform the future mother about breastfeeding and proper nutrition of the baby.
The midwife takes delivery and, after the baby is born, determines the sex, height and weight, and also assesses vital signs such as breathing and pulse.
After discharge from the hospital (or after home birth), the midwife monitors the state of the mother and child. Sleepless nights, navel, first bathing, weight gain, proper attachment and a scary word — stagnation — are designed to monitor all these processes, as well as to control and regulate Hebamme. The first week or two, usually comes daily. Weighs the baby, helps to adjust breastfeeding or artificial feeding, watches the navel fall away and cares for it, conducts the first bath, watches the seams of the newly-made mother, if there were tears or caesarean during the delivery. It helps to clear up, suggests baby care products, gives advice on nutrition and much more.
The first time after birth is the time of dating and adaptation. That is why it is important that the family is accompanied not only by a competent midwife, but also pleasant to you as a person who can be trusted.
How are midwives searched?
You can search for an acquaintance, you can on the Internet. Also, the maternity hospital issues a sheet with the data of midwives, with whom this maternity hospital cooperates. In big cities, midwives often work only in certain areas, this also needs to be taken into account. That is, if a woman gives birth in a maternity hospital located far from the place of residence, then midwives-partners of the maternity hospital may refuse the service of postpartum escort because of the large time expenses for travel.
Of course, it is better to start looking for a midwife as early as possible, almost as soon as you learn about pregnancy, as they take a limited number of families under the patronage, and your chosen may simply not have time for you.
Also, the expectant mother is not obliged to agree to cooperate with the midwife, who did not like it. Here you are free to choose.
How is midwife training?
At the moment, training at Hebamme is work in the maternity hospital with a parallel visit to a vocational school. Since 2020, training in obstetrics goes into the category of academic professions, that is, from training in a vocational school, classes will be held in one of the specialized universities.