Giving birth in a foreign country

The child will come during our trip around the world. Some have been calling us crazy.

— Anna & Markus —

Get an overview:

Dad holds Baby

A few more words to be exact 🙂
As on the pregnant travel page, here we share one of the most intimate moments of our lives. And again, it is to help those who are abroad or planning to give birth abroad. We pass on our information and share our experiences and adventures, so maybe you can take one or two things or just make it better for you.
However, we also give a word of warning. In our experience, some people are not prepared for this “way” – not to have your child in a hospital in your home country. And surely people around you will react with incomprehension and rejection. We want to give you a piece of strength and courage and tell you also: It is worth every second. We have so much time for each other to grow together into a family. And the children grow so fast! To share the challenge that is demanded of parents. So that you can adapt well to situations and it has to be less stressful for everyone”.

No one will take this time away from you – ENJOY IT!

We wish you all the best in realizing your dreams and the family-to-be!

Best wishes

Markus and Anna

On the pregnant travel page we mentioned the most important things, health system and visa conditions. Let’s take a closer look here …

  • Which country and how do I get there?
  • How is the medical care? Is it sufficient?
  • Which visa or stay permit do I need? How long can I stay in the country with it?
  • Midwife; birth center or hospital 
  • Do I rent a hotel room or a small apartment to stay the first months before and after the birth?
  • How do I get travel documents, passports, birth certificates? 
  • Is there a consulate nearby?

Info brochure

Check the visa conditions! They can save you a lot of money. There are certainly such models in many other countries. From New Zealand we can report: Who gets a work visa approved, which is valid for at least 2 years, is entitled to founded Maternity Care. This also applies if the pregnancy already exists and does not only refer to the pregnant woman, the father-to-be is also considered. So it doesn’t matter which of the two parents has the work visa, one is enough to ensure the child’s right to Maternity Care, by the way, even if you are not married. The field of founded Maternity Care includes, among many others, free care and preventive care by a midwife, birth in the birth center or hospital and aftercare by the midwife at home.

We aim for a one-year stay. Children learn everything new! Every sound, physical contact, stressful situations, feelings! It must be a horrible idea, if then on top of that just safely gained environment is constantly changing. Therefore, it might be better to refrain from moving on immediately in the second or third month. It is better to enjoy the new skills your child learns every day. 

What must also be taken into consideration: Parents should also be able to recover well. After all, the Show of force is not over after the birth. Healing, control, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, getting used to each other, stress, sleepless nights, maybe also anger and one or the other desperate situation.

We have tried to find out from Germany, how much a birth costs in different countries. Unfortunately without success! Not even a general guess. Of course, this also depends on pregnancy/birth and the family. One wants more care, the other may need it more intensively for medical reasons.

From New Zealand we can report how such an uncomplicated ordinary pregnancy and birth is accompanied …

Care by a midwife: 

Examinations before birth (7 appointments a 63,25 NZ$) = 442,75 NZ$

Attending midwife during the birth 1400 NZ$

Postnatal examinations (4 appointments a 70,23 NZ$) = 280,92 NZ$

Birth in birth center:

Stay in birth center with all services like rooms, tub, shower, towels etc. (24 h each incl. 3 h stay after birth) = 3500 NZ$

Birth in hospital:

24 h stay on a postnatal ward = 1600 NZ$

ambulance transport = 800 NZ$

Caesarean section = 2700 NZ$

Surgery team = 650 NZ$

operates in New Zealand via the platform findyourmidwife

  • enter expected date of birth
  • Select region/location
  • Specify preferred hospital/birth center or home birth

This will show you the available midwives with profile photo and short description. You can contact them directly via the platform.

This is how we met our midwife Samantha. We had our first contact with her about 10 weeks before the calculated ET. The first appointment with her then 8 weeks before. After the birth she supported us for 6 weeks. The number of home visits in the first 6 weeks with baby was up to us.

borthcare or hospital for birth?

The choice of the midwife already partly determines whether one wants/needs to give birth in the hospital or rather in the birth center. It depends, among other things, on the individual decision and whether or not the midwife cares for the type of birth. Often midwives specialize in certain areas such as home births. Everyone has to decide for themselves – there are many pros and cons for both sides.

In the following two sections you can get information about both sides, so that you can form your own opinion.

If you plan to give birth in a birth center, you must be aware of one thing: “If complications of any kind occur, transport to the hospital with the emergency ambulance is mandatory”. You should therefore think beforehand would you play it safe or shy away from transport in labor.

… we got to know in the course of appointments with our midwife, as we were received here for consultation hours. Soon after, we were able to make an appointment to visit and see the birthing rooms, as well as clarify the payment arrangements. The birth center was completely renovated in 2018. The rooms have bathtubs, couches, sofas and bathrooms with private showers and toilets. One can use common areas such as kitchens and equipment. The birthing room is large and sufficiently equipped. It is possible to play your own music through speakers, dim the lights as you wish or, for those who like it, emit fragrances through a diffuser. In short: “There is everything your heart desires.” Everything is integrated into a fixed price. If you don’t want to spend the first days after the birth alone at home, you can rent a room at BirthCare, also with a partner and even if you gave birth in the hospital. All-round care by midwives is then guaranteed. Our experience here is that the entire staff is extremely friendly and, above all, crazy about babies.

At the maternity unit in Auckland City Hospital, the standard of care is 1 to 1. Here you have the choice to bring your own midwife or to be cared for by the midwives of the hospital. The so-called birthing units are not super modern like the birthcare, but they also offer a tub and a bed, as well as a bathroom with its own shower and toilet. Plus due to huge windows and the location on the top floor of the hospital, a beautiful view over the entire city. For those who are afraid of the hospital or have read the horror stories of poor care and violence during childbirth, we can only encourage you here. During our entire stay, we received exemplary care from all midwives, doctors and nurses without exception. One could not wish for more cordial treatment. 1 to 1 care is even taken so seriously that the midwife provides a replacement during really every minute of her absence. We felt that this was sometimes not necessary, but what we want to express is that you are never left alone and are treated kindly at every second. Every intervention is communicated in the best possible way. If you are unresponsive during the birth, the staff notices this immediately and discusses everything necessary with your support person.

As soon as you are pregnant, you look for an LMC (Lead Maternity Carer). This can be a midwife, a GP (general practitioner), or a gynecologist. Last one is rare, because you have to pay for it yourself in any case and you only see gynecologists if you want to or if there are any problems in the pregnancy. Otherwise, preventive examinations are done by the midwife or GP. Those who give birth in the hospital do not necessarily need a midwife and will probably continue to see the GP for check-ups. However, those who want to give birth in a birth center urgently need an attending midwife, and one who also works with the birth center of their choice. Pre-birth appointments are essential to the birth.

They are a kind of survey of the pregnancy in order to avoid complications during the birth. A birth in the birth center is subject to certain conditions, diabetic patients or multiple births are preferred to be transferred to the hospital right away.
After the birth, the appointments with the midwife serve to observe the mother’s recovery and essential things that care around the health of the child.

At this point we can tell you about our experience:

In the 30th week of pregnancy we met our midwife Samantha. Until the calculated date of birth, we met fortnightly in the first weeks and then weekly four weeks before the calculated date of birth. We had postnatal examinations immediately on the first day after the birth. Thereafter, the intervals between appointments increased to two- to five-day intervals. We found the type of care to be sufficient, reasonable, and very professional in New Zealand. However, the type and intensity of care is always dependent on each case and on pregnancy and complications and must be assessed individually.

The following highlights are intended to briefly illustrate thematically what prenatal and postnatal examinations are performed in New Zealand.

Pre-birth:

  • Medical history (pre-existing diseases, allergies, etc.)
  • Birth plan (e.g. When is it time to go to the birth center or hospital? Water birth, cutting the umbilical cord, How do we proceed in case of complications? etc.)
  • Birth preparation (massages and acupressure)
  • various blood tests (iron values etc.)
  • Urine tests
  • regular palpation of the abdomen at the appointments – examining the heart tones of the child, observing the position and size of the child

Postpartum:

  • Regular visitation of the mother after a natural birth or after a cesarean section (wound care, etc.)
  • regular visitation of the child (visual examination of the skin, dehydration, nutritional status, umbilical cord, etc.)
  • Topic: breastfeeding and nutrition (breast pump, nutritional supplements?)
  • regular weight check of the baby 

Documents must be organized. These are partly irreplaceable and ensure the continuity of the further journey. At this point, we explicitly mean the procurement of a birth certificate and the procurement of a passport. If you have the opportunity to give birth abroad, you should think about how to get important documents and which ones you need for further travel. First and foremost, the basic requirement is to have a valid birth certificate. With this, all further applications can be made to the consulate.

What should I think about?

  • Which documents should I think about before starting the trip (birth certificates of the parents, if applicable?
  • Paternity acknowledgement or marriage certificate of the parents)?
  • What documents do I need to obtain or apply for before the start of the trip?
  • How do I get the birth certificate after the birth or where can I apply for it in the country?
  • Is there a local embassy or consulate?
    Can I apply for a passport there and which documents – if necessary also those of the parents – are needed for this?
  • Is there an application procedure, can I attend appointments in person to clarify certain questions?
  • How long does it take to apply for the required documents and does it overlap with my departure date?

We remember the time in New Zealand and …

can describe that applying for the birth certificate was quite easy and could be done online. After filling out the form and sending it to the relevant authority, they contacted the hospital we had specified and we received mail about three weeks later with the two birth certificates we had ordered. All we needed was a mailing address. In our experience, the mailing address can also be the address of a hotel. In contrast, the application for a passport is a bit more extensive. For this, in addition to an appointment at the consulate, an antag, 2 biometric passport photos – yes also of newborns, the birth certificate and other documents are needed. Since we still remain a while in New Zealand, we push the application still a little before us, but then report on it later again in more detail.

vaccines for babys

After the midwife’s treatment and follow-up is ended, you are usually handed over to your family doctor or pediatrician after a certain number of weeks. Here one of the most important topic can be addressed. The immunization against certain diseases! But why is it important to immunize? Babies are usually equipped with some passive immunity against certain diseases. However, this passive immunity alone cannot provide full and all-around protection against more serious diseases. Therefore, it is important to immunize children in the right order and at the specific week of age.

In many countries, immunization is either recommended or even mandatory. For example, if you plan to enroll your child in a daycare center in New Zealand, you must provide proof of certain immunizations, such as vaccination against measles. For this you should inform yourself urgently, because the vaccinations can be quite different from your country.

Certain examinations such as a hearing test or the metabolism test of the blood are free of charge in New Zealand and are sometimes still done in the hospital or at home with the midwife! Therefore we recommend after the sixth week of birth to make an appointment with a doctor, to take care of the immunization and regular check ups of his child.

It is worth knowing at this point that the vaccines for children born in New Zealand are free of co-payment or generally free of charge. Only the costs of the doctor or nurse are paid (just if you are not eligible for founded health care.

If you have an international health insurance, you should check beforehand if possible costs for appointments or vaccines will be covered if you are already traveling.

From our experience we can report the following:

After we got the final exam from our midwife, she handed us over to the family doctor with a little summary. This took place after the sixth week of our child’s age. The family doctor could be chosen by ourselves. After making an appointment and presenting ourselves, we could leave our data and copies of our passports at the practice. A few days later we had an appointment for vaccinations. All vaccinations for children born in New Zealand are free – no matter if you are a New Zealand citizen or not! So we only paid the costs which concerned the doctor or the nurse and not the costs of the vaccines. In the sixth week in New Zealand you get among other things vaccinations against diseases or germs such as rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, etc..

BirthCare Parnell
Auckland Hospital Crafton
MAMA INC Sandringham

Unser Geburtsbericht

Eine Geburt im Geburtshaus, so natürlich wie möglich, mit Sam unserer Hebamme, Markus, mir und unserem Kind. So viel zum Plan. So naiv zu glauben dass Geburten gänzlich wie geplant verlaufen, war ich natürlich nicht. Dass aber so rein gar nichts klappen wollte, darauf hatte ich mich nicht eingestellt. Ich mache bis zuletzt Yoga, gehe auch im bergigen Auckland ausgedehnt spazieren, bin fit und voller Motivation. Meine Einstellung: Tschakaaa, komm nur ran Geburt! Ich freue mich auf diesen Tag, auf unser neues Menschlein, bin so neugierig, wissen wir ja das Geschlecht noch nicht. Entbindungstermin ist der 09.06.20, am Nachmittag des 04.06 fangen die ersten Wehen an. Mit Sam ist Folgendes ausgemacht: Wir treffen uns im Geburtshaus, wenn die Wehen alle 3 Minuten kommen, für 1 Minute anhalten und dieser Zustand für mindestens 1 bis 2 Stunden anhielt.
Noch Zeit, denken wir uns, gehen 22 Uhr raus für einen Spaziergang, holen uns am Take-away noch ein Stück Pizza. Zurück in unserem Zimmer legen wir uns ins Bett und schlafen noch mal eine Nacht, versuchen noch mal Kraft zu tanken. Das funktionierte sogar recht gut, ich wache circa alle 30 Minuten auf, bemerkte eine Wehe, gehe auf die Toilette und legte mich wieder hin. So die ganze Nacht. Am Freitag, den 05.06.20 nimmt die ganze Sache dann Fahrt auf, die Abstände zwischen den Wehen werden kürzer und zunehmend länger. Ich informiere Samantha, alles sieht so aus, als ob wir die nächste Nacht im Geburtshaus verbringen.
22 Uhr ist es dann endlich soweit, Wehen alle 3 Minuten, 1 Minute lang und so weiter, ihr kennt das Spiel :). Zu dieser Zeit ist es mir auch fast egal was der Wehentracker sagt. Die Wehen sind bereits so schmerzhaft das ich mich langsam nach Betreuung unserer Hebamme sehne.
Exakt 23 Uhr sind wir im Geburtshaus. Sam kontrolliert zu Beginn meinen Muttermund, 4 cm. Wir sind alle stolz :). Sie bemerkt aber auch sofort, dass unser Kind noch nicht ganz richtig liegt. Mit dem Köpfchen nach unten aber der Kopf ist nicht auf der Brust, sondern im Nacken und der Körper nach oben wie eine Schraube gedreht. Wir versuchen mit verschiedensten Techniken das Kind in die richtige Position zu bringen. Ich stehe abwechselnd mit dem Rücken an einer Wand, sitze auf einem Ball, stütze mich kopfüber von einer Couch ab, während Markus oder Sam mit Tüchern an mir rütteln, um uns näher ans Ziel zu bringen. Die Herztöne sahen zu jeder Zeit prächtig aus. Ich habe Wehen, teilweise drei Stück in fünf Minuten, allerdings total unregelmäßig. Sie werden immer stärker und mir fällt es zunehmend schwer mich zu konzentrieren, jede Wehe fühlt sich schmerzhafter, und ich, verkrampfter an. Ein neuer Tag beginnt, es ist der 06.06.20, 4 Uhr kontrollieren wir nochmals den Muttermund, immer noch 4 cm. Puh, na gut weiter! Ins Krankenhaus will ich nicht, habe ich doch schon allerhand Gruselgeschichten aus deutschen Kreißsälen gelesen. Um 6 Uhr befinde ich mich in der Wanne, ich zittere, fühle mich kraftlos und sage leise zu Markus: ,,Ich glaub, ich schaff das nicht mehr.”
Halb 7 kontrollieren wir noch mal und hoffen auf Fortschritt. Nichts da, 4 cm. Ich will ins Krankenhaus, Sam sieht es genau so, wir organisieren den Transport. Das Geburtshaus liegt keine 5 Autominuten vom Krankenhaus entfernt. Der Transport kommt mir dennoch ewig vor, ich verliere zwischenzeitlich völlig die Kontrolle über mich, ich weine, ich bettele nach einer PDA, einem Kaiserschnitt, zwischendurch darum zu sterben. Eine Dramaqueen bin ich eigentlich nicht 🙂
Im Krankenhaus bekommen wir schnell eine ,,Birthing Unit” für uns. Sam begleitet uns weiter, bereitet uns aber schon darauf vor, dass sie verständlicherweise nicht ewig da bleiben kann und uns irgendwann an eine Hebamme des Krankenhauses übergeben wird.
9 Uhr bekomme ich die PDA und kann mich endlich wieder sammeln. Danach öffnet Sam meine Fruchtblase, wir erhoffen uns, dass die Geburt dadurch endlich schneller vorangeht. Leider brachte dies nicht den gewünschten Effekt.
Wir versuchen nun die Wehen künstlich mit Oxytocin zu kontrollieren und unser Kind weiterhin, mit allerhand Bewegung und Gerüttel, in die gewünschte Position zu bringen.
Und ab jetzt können wir es kurz machen, 20:30 Uhr wer hätte es gedacht, 4 cm! Difficult labor progress, nannten sie es.
Um 21:34 Uhr wurde unser Kind per Kaiserschnitt geholt, ein Junge. 
Abschließend kann ich das Auckland City Hospital nur loben. Meine Angst war völlig unbegründet! Durch die recht lange Geburt habe ich 3 Hebammen kennenlernen dürfen. Eine herzlicher als die andere. Die Anästhesistin, welche mir die PDA verabreichte, streichelte mir den Rücken und sagte: ,,Almost done, Darling.”
Das Team im OP Saal hat es geschafft, unsere mehr als holprige Geburt, zu einem trotzdem wunderschönen und emotionalen Ereignis zu machen. Ich war die gesamte Zeit wach und ansprechbar. Eine der OP Schwestern stand immer neben mir, erklärte mir jeden Schritt, wie es sich gleich anfühlen wird, was als nächstes passiert. Sie erkundigte sich immer wieder nach meinem Befinden. Zu meiner anderen Seite stand Markus. Noch bevor ich in den OP geschoben wurde, hörte ich jemanden fragen ob wir eine Kamera dabei hätten. Klar haben wir! Selbst hätten wir wahrscheinlich keine Fotos gemacht, aber sogar dafür wurde im OP gesorgt.

Ein dickes Danke!

We hope you were able to extract the most important things for you from the information and advice contained on this page! We wish you all the best! Best regards Markus and Anna