Are you or your partner expecting? While this is meant to be a very exciting time in your life, sometimes medical expenses and navigating public or private healthcare systems can be stressful. This is especially the case if you are an expat, foreigner, or living abroad as a non-resident.
About 700,000 babies are born in Germany each year. If you’re planning to have your baby in Germany, a country with world-class prenatal care, this guide is for you. Read more to learn about the costs of delivery, the details of parental leave, and what to expect for your hospital stay.
Germany has a universal healthcare system, but it requires all of its residents to have health insurance. Although this requirement is standardised across the country, you’re not likely to find one standardised cost for pregnancy and labour. There are state and private plans with different offerings, and residents have the right to choose which one they want.
Many people consider Germany to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Since 2007, everyone in Germany is required to be insured for hospital visits and outpatient medical costs, including pregnancy and checkups. Currently, about 85% of the German population utilise the public healthcare system.
If you’re a temporary visitor or a tourist from the EU, you can use your European Health Insurance Card to cover you while you are in Germany. Visitors from other countries should get private international travel insurance before to avoid paying medical expenses out-of-pocket because these costs can add up:
- (No insurance) Total average hospital bill for a regular birth: €1,600-€7,500
- (No insurance) Total average hospital bill with a c-section: €2,500-€5,400
- (With state-funded insurance) Total average hospital bill for a regular birth: €0-€350
- (With state-funded insurance) Total average hospital bill with a c-section: €0-€420
If you’re American or British, you’ll be surprised by how comprehensive the care is under the German system. For example, it’s not uncommon to have an ultrasound every time you visit the doctor. Pregnant women may have 8 ultrasounds over the course of their pregnancy. You’ll also take a required gestational diabetes test known as the schwangerschaftsdiabetes. There are also child benefits for each child born in Germany.
Can a non-resident or visitor on a tourist or other visa deliver a baby in Germany? Is birth tourism a thing in Germany?
Non-residents or visitors on a tourist visa can deliver a baby in Germany. However, all visitors in Germany should ensure they get international travel insurance so they’re not left footing the hospital bill. If you’re a temporary visitor and you’re from outside the EU, you can claim state healthcare if your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Germany. Otherwise, you should have a private health insurance solution, or have travel insurance.
Having a baby in Germany is popular for those looking for world-class healthcare, and as long as your insurance provider covers costs, it can be very affordable for new parents. Whether foreign or not, you’ll receive a mutterpass early in your pregnancy. This is a booklet that will record information throughout your pregnancy - from doctors notes to appointment details to test results. You’ll bring it to every appointment with a gynecologist, a midwife, or a doctor at the hospital.
Here are some rough costs of having a baby in Germany. Private insurance programs tend to pay between 90%-100% of the costs associated with having a baby, and because health insurance is compulsory you’ll likely only see 0-10% of the bill.
As Germany is part of the European Union, money and banks in Germany use the euro. You’ll find it written with the currency code EUR, or with the symbol ‘€.’ To compare costs and understand pricing in Germany compared with your home country, use an online currency converter.
|Baby delivery medical procedures in Germany||Average cost with no insurance||Average cost with insurance|
|Prenatal doctor visit and care||€200||€0-€20|
|Birth and delivery in the hospital||€1,600-€2,150||€0-€350|
|Cesarean section in the hospital||€2,500-€5,400||€0-€420|
In Germany, there are three location options for you to choose from when delivering your baby. You can go to the Krankenhaus or hospital. You’ll likely be in a maternity ward with access to a full range of medical tools and services, including emergency services. Many German hospitals will have facilities for a water-birth if you plan to go that route. You might also go to a geburtshausgeburt or birthing house. These centres tend to be more informal than the maternity ward and will have a more home-like feel. However, you may not have access to a full range of emergency services. Your third option is the hausgeburt, or home birth. You’ll have a midwife with you to help your delivery in a familiar, comfortable environment. In the case of a medical emergency, you’d be transferred to the hospital.
You’ll also develop a relationship with a midwife or hebamme. This person will guide you through pregnancy and postnatal care. They may come to your home to answer questions about breastfeeding and baby-proofing, and if you’re in a big city, you might be able to find an English-speaking hebamme. Check out national search sites like Hebammensuche for options.
The average stay in hospital for new moms in Germany will depend on the type of delivery you have, as well as the success of the procedure. If you’ve had a routine birth, you’ll stay in hospital from 3 to 7 days. If you’ve had a Caesarian section, it’s normal to stay in the hospital for a week to 12 days.
While you’re in the hospital, the midwives and medical staff will advise you on taking care of your new baby. You might discuss bathing, breastfeeding, formula, skin-to-skin contact, and safe ways to hold the baby. You can also discuss postnatal care for yourself, such as pelvic exercises and follow-up appointments.
Before you leave the hospital, medical staff will also conduct several important tests on your newborn. One that you may have heard of is the APGAR test, an overall assessment of how your baby is doing after birth. They’ll also check your baby’s breathing, pulse, complexion (for jaundice), and reflexes. They’ll also check for signs of birth defect.
Even after you leave the hospital, you can expect continued support from the medical system in Germany. For example, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth provides confidential and safe advice for expectant mothers and women who recently became mothers.
Many hospitals in Germany don’t give out hospital gowns, as you might expect in your home country. As such, plan to bring comfortable clothes to labour in. Hospitals will vary in terms of what they give you. Here are some items you should plan to bring with you when you have your baby in Germany:
- Mutterpass (maternity health records)
- Robe, slippers, socks and other comfortable clothes for labour and delivery
- Extra clothes for your partner
- Flip-flops for shower
- Nursing bra and nursing pads
- A going home outfit and blankets for baby
- Toiletries, including lotions and oils that your midwife might use
- Extra towels
When you go to the hospital to have your baby in Germany, you’ll need several documents. Plan to bring your:
- Child health record (issued
- Your health insurance information and any medical cards
- Birth plan
- Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Your birth certificate (advisable)
After your baby is born you should have both parents’ passports and any applicable visas/residence permits, social security numbers, and any advanced degrees ready. You may need them when you go to register your baby at the local city office.
In Germany, you’re expected to register the baby’s birth within 7 days of its birth date. If you’re not physically ready to visit your local city office, the baby’s father, midwife, or doctor can also register. To register, you should visit your local civic office with the requisite documents (and some copies, just to be safe). The office will issue several copies of a German birth certificate and an international birth certificate which you can use to apply for the other paperwork. Be prepared to bring the following documents:
- The record of birth document from the hospital
- Parents' passports
- Parents' birth certificates
- An official translation (in German) of your marriage license (if applicable)
- Master's Degree diplomas or higher from the parents (if applicable)
If I am not a German national but have a baby in Germany, will my child have to choose between nationalities or will they get German citizenship?
If you have a baby in Germany, your baby may be eligible for German citizenship even if you aren’t a German national. But it’s a little complicated. The law states that children born in Germany to non-German parents can have German citizenship if at least one of the parents has a permanent resident permit and has been residing in Germany for at least 8 years. However, in order to retain the citizenship, the child will need to: reside in Germany for 8 years, attend school for 6 years, graduate from high school in Germany, or finish a vocational/professional training in Germany.
Germany allows dual citizenship under certain circumstances and with certain countries. You should check with your home nation to understand the reciprocal citizenship rules with Germany.
Germany offers parental leave that can be shared by the two parents of the baby for up to 14 months, with an individual parent allowed to take a maximum of 12 months. The pay for this parental leave is approximately 65% of the parent’s salary. Nationals from EU states, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland living in Germany are entitled to this parental leave policy. Residents from other countries with the full right to work in Germany are also eligible.
Parental leave in Germany is progressive. The elternzeit system (parental leave) ensures that parents jobs are protected by law until the new child turns 3. The parent who wants to take leave has to apply 7 weeks in advance. Mothers have compulsory paid leave for 6 weeks before the birth and 8 weeks afterwards. Your paid leave might be higher than the standard percentage if you have been earning €1,000 or less. Also, if you have another child, you’ll receive €75 a month as a ‘sibling bonus.’
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Depending on your insurance situation, your birth in Germany may not be entirely free of cost. However, you’ll have dependable care and sophisticated prenatal infrastructure that will be able to manage any type of pregnancy and delivery. While the system can be complicated for foreigners, refer to this post as a guide for everything you’ll need to know to have a happy, healthy baby in Germany.