The midwifery project – Germany

Part I – Why only one fourth of German midwives attend births

… for Lila

The midwifery project - Being a midwife in Germany 5

Today we’re celebrating the International Day of the Midwife this is why I chose to publish my work today on the 5th of May.

This is it’s my first photography project. It is born at last !

It couldn’t have materialized without the help of the midwives that I met in Germany during my trip, from October 2016 to January 2017. This is a message especially dedicated to all midwives around the world. A warm thank you for bringing babies to life! Every day and especially today we celebrate life with you.

There are so many things to say about what I saw and heard during those months, that I decided to publish it in parts. So, after the introduction that I posted on my blog in January, here is Part One, about the first midwives that I met in Regensburg – Bavaria, trying to explain why only one fourth of German midwives attend births.

Disclaimer: I’m not a midwife, not a physician, not a statistician neither a journalist. All I’m writing here is my personal view and my personal conclusion. I’m just a citizen who is concerned.

The midwifery project – Part I

Why only one fourth of German midwives attend births

I started to contact midwives and asked if I could follow them during their day of work. I sent emails to more than 150 midwives; independent ones, working in hospitals or birth houses. I explained that I wanted to write something about midwives in Germany to ring the bell on their work conditions. The deal was that I’d take pictures of them and their patients. The pictures would be given to them. I was surprised to have a positive feedback, more than 15%, and it was enough for me. I was not certain that it would work: after all, who wants a Foreigner who doesn’t speak German – and a man! Coming with his camera, entering the privacy of families who are about to be parents or that just had a baby? Many! Yes, many!  Midwives and future or new parents opened their door to me and welcomed me, while having to deal with one of the most precious moment of their life.

Being a midwife in Regensburg

The first midwife who answered me was Theresa. She offered me to come to Regensburg and follow her during her duty and her colleagues during the week that I would be spending in the city.

Theresa is sharing the practice with two other midwives, Sarah and Rebekka. They all came to the profession for different reasons. But they all decided for this profession really early in their life. Rebekka for example decided that when she was at the kindergarten she always knew what she wanted to do later. While Sarah chose that when younger, she assisted a midwife during the delivery of her brother.

In this practice, the three midwives are in charge of the prenatal care and the post-natal care. They also offer advices on nutrition, talks and baby massages, yoga lessons, relaxation and sport before and after the delivery.

I had a silly question to three midwives. I asked them separately why aren’t they doing deliveries. The three midwives had mostly the same answer:

We can’t afford it! the prices of the insurance raised so much during the last years that it’s costing more than 7000 € per year if you want to attend childbirth.

I started looking what are the reasons of this rate raise and what are consequences on the profession. Three insurance companies that are covering midwives made a fusion; they had the field clear for raising dictating prices since there’s no competition anymore.

You’ll tell me then why the midwives aren’t working in hospitals? There’s job for midwives in hospital we still hear that some hospitals are closing their maternity because there’s not enough midwives.

There’s midwives working in hospitals, but the conditions of work are not ideal, imagine that you’re choosing the profession for its natural sides mixed with a lot of knowledge about Obstectrics/Pregnancy/Psychology/Nutrition … and so many other fields (Sorry to not list them all) required for being a midwife then you find yourself working in a hospital doing three deliveries and sometimes much more per shift. When you don’t have time to take care of the future mom to talk to her and do you work without having to run from a labor room to another. Sure, you won’t be attracted to do you profession there. Not even having your baby there. (It’s my personal view)

You will look for alternatives ways, this alternative and natural ways are existing. Giving birth at home or at a birth center in a natural way because being pregnant and giving birth is the most natural thing don’t you think? It’s not a sickness! right!?!

Let’s talk about it in my next post, Stay tuned and subscribe to receive it. Feel free to share but specially to comment and to give also your point of view on it.