Giving Birth In Germany As A Foreigner [English Guide]

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by Susa



There is nothing more exciting than welcoming a new baby to your family – and with all the excitement come many questions. While our guide on Mastering Pregnancy in Germany shares essential tips on what to expect when you’re expecting, this guide prepares you for giving birth in Germany as a foreigner and breaks down everything you need to know and do once your baby is born.

Basic Facts About Giving Birth In Germany

In Germany, most babies are born in hospitals. Women are encouraged to give birth as naturally as possible, with medical interventions being kept to a minimum unless necessary. While C-sections without medical indication are possible, they are also rare and need to be paid individually, with costs varying from around 3.000 to 4.000 euros. C-sections that your doctor recommends due to health reasons get covered by your German health insurance. About 30% of all births in 2020 in Germany were C-sections.

Birthing centers and home births are possible alternatives to hospitals. In our guide on mastering pregnancy in Germany, we go into more detail on how to choose where to give birth in Germany.

Related Guide: Mastering Pregnancy In Germany ​​[Essential Tips]

What To Expect When Giving Birth At A Hospital In Germany?

When you feel that labor is starting and contractions are regular (about a minute long and 5 minutes apart), it is time to call the Kreissaal (delivery room) you have chosen to give birth in. They will ask you questions to determine whether you should come to the hospital immediately or spend more time at home. In the rare event of the maternity ward being at full capacity, they might also refer you to a different hospital. 

Once you arrive at the hospital, you will receive a first check-up. Depending on how dilated your cervix (Muttermund) is, you may proceed directly to the delivery room (usually when around 3-4 cm dilated) or stay a bit longer in your room in the maternity ward. Sometimes the nurses will also tell you to go home for now and return later. 

Most delivery rooms in Germany offer pain relief options, including bathtubs, acupuncture, laughing gas, yoga, meditation, and epidurals (PDA – Periduralanästhesie). Always check beforehand if the hospital you plan to give birth at offers your preferred pain relief method.  

Hospitals specializing in family bonding and breastfeeding will allow extensive skin-to-skin bonding time in the delivery room right after birth. When our daughter was born, we spent four uninterrupted hours with her before moving to our regular room. You might have to move to your room sooner in some larger hospitals. Your baby will stay with you in your room with a baby bassinet by your bedside. So be prepared to start taking care of your baby from minute one.

Most maternity wards in Germany have twin, triple or quad bedrooms with shared baths. You may be able to upgrade to a single or family room with costs varying between 100 and 150 euros per night. Private health insurance might cover the costs, depending on your individual tariff.

It is common to stay at the hospital for two to three days after a vaginal birth and five to seven days after having a baby via a C-section. Of course, you can choose to leave earlier, but you need to be aware that you will need to attend the mandatory medical check-ups for you and your baby at a doctor’s office instead.

💡Good to know: If you choose to have a homebirth or give birth at a birthing center, your midwife will be happy to share all relevant information on what to expect during delivery. 

What To Pack When Giving Birth in Germany?

As labor can start any time towards the end of pregnancy, you should have your hospital bag ready around week 36. Hospitals usually provide a hospital gown for you to give birth in, linen, towels, pads, and clothes for the baby while you stay at the hospital. They also provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner and should have water, tea, and coffee available. There may be exceptions, so please check your packing requirements when registering at your chosen hospital.

As a general rule of thumb, you should bring the following items when having a baby in Germany: 

Important Documents:

  • Mutterpass (given to you by your gynecologist during prenatal care)
  • Health insurance card 
  • Documents to register your child – see below!
  • A little bit of cash (for snacks)

Personal Items:

  • Comfortable clothes (loungewear/pajamas)
  • Slippers/flip flops
  • Toiletries (the hospital will provide postpartum panties and pads, so there is no need to bring those. You can also take some home when you leave the hospital.)
  • Phone/camera (remember your charger!)
  • Snacks 
  • Clothes for leaving the hospital (for you and the baby)
  • Car seat when driving home in a car (It is illegal to transport a baby in a car without an appropriate car seat. This also applies to taxis.)
  • Something to make you feel good and at ease (stuffed animals, smells, etc.)

💡Good to know: In most cases, hospitals only provide food service for the expecting mother during and after birth. However, given the exciting circumstances and potential length of the delivery, your birth partner will likely be hungry too, so bring snacks/drinks for both of you or bring some cash to buy food in the cafeteria or restaurant close by.

Who Can Come With You When You Give Birth?

In Germany, it is common for only one person (usually the father/partner or a close friend/relative) to accompany the birth. If you wish to have more than one person present, please check with the hospital beforehand. If you plan on receiving guests, please always be mindful of the people you share a room with, as lengthy visits from strangers can be overwhelming for other new mothers in your room. 

How Much Does It Cost To Give Birth In Germany?

Giving birth is covered by public and private health insurance in Germany. Therefore, as long as you have German health insurance, you do not need to worry about finances. However, without German health insurance, for example, if you are in Germany on a tourist visa, you should expect costs of around 3.000 euros for an uncomplicated natural birth and about 4.000 euros for a C-section. 

What Does Postnatal Care For Babies Look Like In Germany?

After your baby is born, doctors and nurses will do various tests and examinations to check if your baby is healthy. All children in Germany must attend nine mandatory examinations, called U-Untersuchungen, during infancy and childhood. 

The first two check-ups, U1 and U2, are performed at the hospital. If you choose to leave the hospital early, you must visit a pediatrician to perform U2. You will need to consult a pediatrician latest for U3, which is scheduled for the 4th or 5th week of life. You should already search for a pediatrician during pregnancy to register your baby’s name as a future patient.

To document the check-up results, you will receive the so-called Gelbes Heft (yellow booklet) before leaving the hospital. It lists all examinations and explains in detail what happens during each check-up.

Important: U-appointments must be kept in the predefined timeframes. Negligence of the appointments will result in intervention from your health insurance provider or child services in severe cases. 

What Does Postnatal Care For New Mothers Look Like In Germany?

Women are required to rest for the first eight weeks after giving birth in Germany. This is taken very seriously and is anchored in the German Mutterschutz (maternity protection), which prohibits women from working during that time. Midwives and gynecologists stress the importance of resting, preferably in bed. So it is no surprise that the German word for postpartum time, Wochenbett, literally translates to week bed. 

During the Wochenbett-period, postpartum, your midwife will visit you and your newborn at home to follow up with your recovery and your baby’s development. They will take your vitals, check the baby’s weight gain, help with breastfeeding and answer any questions you might have. They also provide immeasurable insights into newborn care. Initially, your midwife will do daily home visits, and then they will schedule visits as needed. In total, 16 home visits by your midwife get covered by your German health insurance after having a baby in Germany. 

🔥 Hot tip: If you are interested in having a postpartum midwife, please start searching for one as early as possible during your pregnancy, as they are in high demand. You are not required to have a midwife, so if you don’t want one or can’t find one, do not worry! You can rent baby scales at the pharmacy and call a midwife hotline, your pediatrician, or the hospital if needed. 

A word you will often hear after giving birth is Rückbildung (recovery gymnastics). After eight weeks, you should start specific exercises to help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth, especially your pelvic floor, stomach, and back. Rückbildungskurse (recovery gymnastic courses) are covered by your health insurance and offered online and offline by midwives, sports centers, and hospitals. Google Rückbildung + your city + English (if needed) to find a Rückbildungskurs in your area. If you are interested in an online course in German, the certified midwife Laura Rohmann-Höhn offers a popular course in German that I joined as well. 

After six to eight weeks after giving birth, you should schedule your first gynecologist check-up to get your final examination after giving birth. Most hospitals will prepare a summary report of your delivery to give to your gynecologist, which you should bring along with your Mutterpass to your appointment. 

What Should You Know About Breastfeeding In Germany? 

Breastfeeding is the recommended form of feeding your baby in Germany. German law protects the right to breastfeed everywhere in public, including restaurants, and most Germans do not mind it. If you are uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, you can carry a light scarf to cover yourself. I always found it reassuring to breastfeed in parks or near playgrounds, where I was surrounded by many families familiar with the situation. There may also be nursing rooms available near you called Stillraum. Larger dm stores have them, and many shopping malls, airports, or larger central train stations. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of nursing rooms in Germany, but if you google Stillraum + your area, you will likely find a few places near you. 

If you wish to pump breast milk, you can buy a pump online or at drugstores or rent one at the pharmacy. The most popular brands in Germany are PhilipsLansinoh, and Meldena. However, there are also excellent and far less cost-intensive alternatives on Amazon, which I also use.

If you cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, baby formula is widely available at stores such as dm and Rossmann. 

You also do not need to worry about nappy changing in public too much. It is common for babies to be changed in public, though you should be mindful of your surroundings. For example, changing your baby at a restaurant where others are eating or on a seat without a cover might not be appropriate. Many dm stores have a changing area (Wickelstation) with diapers and wipes available free of charge. You can enter your location and click on the nearest dm store to see if it has a Wickelstation on its website.

If you google ‘Wickelraum or Wickelstation + your area’, you will likely find other nappy-changing opportunities in shops, restaurants, and public places near you.

How To Get Your Baby’s Birth Certificate?

To get your baby’s birth certificate, you must register the birth at your local Standesamt (registry office). You must do the birth registration within the first week of life, please ensure that you have all the required documents ready before giving birth. Also, please note that all foreign documents need to be translated into German by an official translator, so make sure to request the necessary translations early, should you still need them.

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When you give birth at a hospital, your local Standesamt will automatically be informed about the delivery of your baby. Many hospitals also offer to send the required documents to the Standesamt for you. Please hand in copies of your passports and original certificates, plus their translations, to the hospital. They will be returned to you with the birth certificates via postal mail within a few weeks. 

When giving birth at a birthing center or at home your midwife will issue an official birth announcement if you give birth at a birthing center or home. You will then need to register your baby within the first seven days after giving birth by sending all documents to the Standesamt yourself. In some cases, an in-person appointment might be required. The Standesamt will inform you should this apply to you.

You can expect to receive the birth certificates via postal mail two to six weeks later. You will always receive three pre-purposed birth certificates free of charge, one for your employer, one for your health insurance company, and one for your Elterngeld-application. Additional generic or international birth certificates, which you need to register your child in your home country and apply for your child’s residence permit, must be requested and paid for individually. Costs are around 10 to 15 euros per certificate.

Related Guide: Parental Allowance In Germany [Elterngeld] English Guide

Important: Please check your home country’s regulations regarding children born abroad. In most cases, babies will automatically receive their parent’s citizenship after you have informed your home country’s embassy about your child’s birth!

Basic Documents Needed To Register A Baby In Germany

These are the three basic documents you require to register your baby at your local Standesamt in Germany:

  • Passport/ID copy of the mother or both parents, if applicable
  • Birth certificate of the mother or both parents, if applicable
  • Declaration of the child’s name → This official form can be printed and filled out at home or will be given to you at the hospital or birthing center. Each city/region has its own form. To get an idea of what this declaration looks like, you can find the versions of Germany’s largest cities here: 

Important: Depending on your marital status, you may need to present additional documents to register your child. Below you can find an overview of the most common parental constellations and the additional documents needed to register your baby.

Additional documents needed for:

  • Married parents:
    • Marriage certificate
  • Divorced mother:
    • Marriage certificate 
    • Proof of divorce
    • Proof of name change (if applicable)

Important: In case of a finalized divorce, only the mother will be named on the birth certificate. To add the father, please see below.

  • Unmarried/divorced parents who wish to include the father:
    • Declaration of paternity
      • To receive a declaration of paternity, an in-person appointment at the Jugendamt (government office for youth welfare) or a notary is required. To find out more, we have linked the website of the Jugendamt in Düsseldorf as an example. When using Chrome as a browser, you can right-click and select ‘Translate to English’.
    • Declaration of Custody 
      • This certificate will also be issued during the appointment at the Jugendamt or notary. If you want to find out more, please also refer to the above-linked website of the Jugendamt. Don’t be confused, as Google translate has translated the Declaration of Custody as “Declaration of concern”.
  • Soon to be divorced mother, husband not the father:
    • Marriage Certificate 
    • Proof of filing for divorce (court document)
    • Paternity Declaration (see above)

Important: The biological father, if not the husband, can only be listed on the birth certificate after the divorce has been finalized!

The German Law Of Parentage And Adoption Rights

If a woman is not married, she alone will be automatically listed on the birth certificate. To include the father, a specific declaration of paternity, as well as a declaration of custody, are required. 

For married hetero couples, the husband will always be listed as the father, regardless of whether he is the biological father. This is important to know should a woman be expecting a child from a new partner without being officially divorced yet.

For married lesbian couples, only the mother who is giving birth will be listed on the birth certificate. Even if married, the other mother must officially adopt the child after birth.

For married gay couples, both fathers need to adopt the child together. Should the fathers not be married, they cannot adopt together but need to adopt one by one.

For more detailed information on adoption for LGBTQ+ couples, you can refer to this amazing website. It is in German, but when using Chrome as a browser, you can right-click and select ‘Translate to English’.

Will Your Baby Have German Citizenship If Born In Germany?

Depending on your residence status as parents, your newborn baby may be eligible for German citizenship or required to get its residence permit for Germany. 

German citizenship will automatically be awarded to newborns when at least one parent has legally lived in Germany for eight years and holds a permanent residence permit. The same applies should one parent hold German citizenship.

If both parents (or the parent holding custody) hold a residence permit for Germany, the baby will automatically be granted residency. However, should only one parent of two sharing custody hold a residence permit, you must apply for your child’s residence permit at the foreigner’s registration office (Ausländerbehörde)

The following documents are needed to obtain your baby’s residence permit:

  • Your baby’s passport (alternatively, your baby might also be added to your passport)
  • One biometric photo of your baby 
  • Your baby’s birth certificate
  • Your passport(s) as (a) parent(s)
  • A completed application form for the residence permit 

Will Your Baby Have Health Insurance In Germany?

You must register your newborn for health insurance within the first two months of life. Once insured, their coverage is valid retrospectively, which means they have health insurance from the moment they are born.

If both parents are publicly insured, their baby will be insured as part of the family at no additional cost. You can choose whether you want to include your child in the mother’s or father’s coverage, regardless if you are insured by the same or different insurance companies.

For families with private health insurance, babies need to be individually insured. As an individual contract gets drafted for the child, fees apply, which may vary between 80 and 220 euros per month.

If you are publicly insured but wish to add additional benefits to your child’s insurance, a so-called Private Zusatzversicherung (additional private insurance) might be an option. Depending on which options you choose to add, your child will benefit from additional coverage during hospital stays, alternative medical care (e.g., naturopaths), or, most importantly, extra dental care, including braces. If you want to find out more, you can take a look at the German insurance company Signal Iduna for additional information (website in German only).

What Other Insurance Should You Get For Your Baby?

Providers of Germany’s favorite Haftpflichtversicherung (personal liability insurance) usually offer single or family tariffs. The latter includes children up to 18 years of age. While some insurance companies cover children automatically, others require their full names and dates of birth. Best check with your insurance provider for their preferred method. 

While not mandatory, getting accident insurance (Unfallversicherung) for your child can be helpful. If an accident leads to prolonged hospital stays, disability, or worse, accident insurance will cushion potential lifelong financial consequences. Most insurance companies offer a discount for families and additional benefits for children. If you are interested in an Unfallversicherung for your entire family, Adam Riese (website in German only) might be an interesting option.

Last but not least, remember to update your travel insurance should you currently have a single insurance contract. Knowing that you will be very well taken care of in case of emergency makes the first family vacation so much more enjoyable.

How To Find Childcare In Germany?

Depending on your family’s childcare plans, we recommend looking into different childcare options as soon as possible.

In Germany, childcare is offered for children as young as three months, although spots for that age group are minimal. Most children start attending Kindertagesstätten (Kitas for short) or Tagesmütter after turning one, which is the minimum age requirement for most childcare providers.

Kita = nursery center for babies & infants
Tagesmutter = individual childcare provider looking after a small group of up to 5 children

Even though children are legally entitled to attend a nursery or daycare center, the demand severely exceeds available spots. It is estimated that in 2023 a total of 380.000 spots need to be added in Germany, with the situation being most challenging in North Rhine Westphalia and large cities. Therefore, we recommend looking into childcare options as soon as possible, preferably during pregnancy or in the early months of your baby’s life. Should you plan on enrolling your child at a later age, we recommend looking for daycare centers at least a year in advance.

How to best find daycare for your baby depends on where you live. Some cities offer an online platform called Kita-Navigator which lists all childcare facilities in the area and enables you to enroll through the system. To find out if your city has one, just google Kita-Navigator + your city. Alternatively, you are likely required to call nursery and daycare centers individually. 

Please keep in mind that it is possible to enroll your child throughout the year; however, most spots will be available in summer, when older children leave for school and thus make daycare spots available for younger kids.

Related guide: An Introduction To The German School System 


We hope that our guide has made the thought of giving birth in Germany as a foreigner less daunting. In fact, it is exciting and life-changing, and we wish you all the best for this unforgettable moment. Starting or growing your family in Germany will automatically open the doors to a new community as an expat in Germany. If you want to learn more about pregnancy in Germany, feel free to read our related guide below. 

Related guide: Mastering Pregnancy in Germany [Essential Tips]

Disclaimer: Neither myself as the author of this article, nor Simple Germany as a business, are qualified to provide immigration advice under German law. We cannot provide specialist immigration services beyond any of the general tips contained herein. For immigration advice, we strongly recommend you consult a professional immigration consultant or your local German embassy or Foreigners office.

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About the Author
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Susa was born and raised in northern Germany and has always loved traveling and exploring different cultures. She has lived in the USA and knows what it feels like to build a new home abroad. She is passionate about helping others through the jungle of German bureaucracy, culture, and customs and settling into Germany more smoothly. She lives in Düsseldorf with her husband and baby daughter.