Midwife: You can search for a midwife who will look after you during pregnancy and after childbirth. A midwife is a health-care professional who specialises in attending pregnant women and infants. Your health insurance covers the costs for such care. Visit Hebammensuche.de to search for a midwife nearby. You can also ask your gynaecologist for a skilled midwife. Keep in mind that you should start your search as early as possible, as midwives are often in high demand.
"Geburtsklinik" or "Gebursthaus": Find a clinic with obstetrics ward ("Geburtsklinik") or a Birthing Centre ("Gebursthaus") for the childbirth. A Birthing Centre ("Gebursthaus") is an institution (run by midwives) which is more intimate and cosy than a clinic. But keep in mind that in case of a risky pregnancy ("Risikoschwangerschaft"), you are better off in a clinic. In many clinics and Birthing Centres, you can visit, look around in peace and ask questions in advance and then decide.
Birth Preparation Course ("Geburtsvorbereitungskurs"): If you would like to know more about the childbirth process and prepare for it, you can attend a birth preparation course ("Geburtsvorbereitungskurs"), the costs of which are covered by the health insurance. Your doctor or midwife can tell you where to find such a course. Some courses are only for mothers or fathers- but there are also courses you can visit as a couple. In such classes, you often learn breathing exercises and relaxation techniques and can ask all your questions regarding the childbirth process.
Maternity Benefits or “Mutterschaftsgeld”: If you are pregnant and working, you are entitled to "maternity benefits" ("Mutterschaftsgeld")- you need to apply for it at your health insurance seven weeks before the childbirth. To apply, you need a certificate (from your doctor) which specifies the expected date of birth. You need to send this certificate directly to your health insurance. In case you have a mini-job or are privately insured, you will receive reduced maternity benefits. If so, you have to apply for maternity benefits directly at the Federal Insurance Office ("Bundesversicherungsamt"). To do so, fill out the application for maternity benefits online and send it to the Federal Insurance Office along with all the certificates mentioned.
Parental Leave: If the father of the newborn baby wants to go on parental leave after the childbirth, he should inform his boss (at the latest) seven weeks before the delivery. If you want to go on parental leave right after birth, you should inform your boss at the latest one week after delivery. You can read more about parental leave in the section "I would like to take a break from work after the childbirth- is that possible?".
Paternity: If you are not married, the father of the child can declare paternity. Only when the father recognises paternity, the maintenance obligation applies to him and the child, for instance, can claim citizenship through the father. To establish paternity, the child's parents must go to the Youth Welfare Office responsible. You can find the proper Youth Wlfare Office at jugendaemter.de. The paternity recognition process takes place free of charge. The mother has to bring along her "Mutterpass", ID card and birth certificate and the father has to present his ID and birth certificate. Keep in mind that the foreign birth certificates must have been translated by a certified translator to be recognised. To search for certified translator nearby, visit justiz-dolmetscher.de or bdue.de. If you want to go through a paternity recognition process after childbirth, you must also hand in your newborn baby's birth certificate. Without the required documents, paternity recognition is usually not possible. If this is the case, seek advice from a counselling centre or a lawyer in advance. You can find a counselling centre, for instance, on Pro Asyl. To search for a lawyer who specialises in refugees' and asylum seekers' issues, visit www.rechtsberaterkonferenz.de.