• Germany edition
 
Expectant mothers face midwife shortage
Photo: DPA

Expectant mothers face midwife shortage

Published: 31 May 2011 12:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 May 2011 12:07 GMT+02:00

Der Spiegel magazine reported that 15 percent of midwives had in the last year given up core professional duties such as maternity care.

About 25 percent of Germany’s midwives are no longer working in maternity care, according to statistics from the country’s Association of Midwives.

Instead, many move into less risky and more lucrative fields such as offering yoga for pregnant women or courses in proper nutrition.

Midwives have been demonstrating in several cities including Berlin, Essen and Dresden, demanding higher pay. They say they want a 30 percent pay increase from Germany’s statutory insurance companies for many of their services.

Midwives receive around €224 ($322) for up to 11 hours' work helping to deliver a baby. Follow-up visits from mothers earn midwives €26, no matter how long the appointments last.

Britta Höpermann, manager of the Geburtshaus Hamburg told Der Spiegel that the self-employed midwives she used often worked 60 hour weeks that left them with a net pay of just €8 to €9 per hour.

The average taxable income of a self-employed midwife was just €14,000, Der Spiegel reported.

Meanwhile insurance premiums have been increasing. Katrin Rüter de Escobar of the German Insurance Association said the medical mistakes were more costly now, driving up premiums, even though midwives make no more mistakes now than in the past.

“It is not a broken vase, but a child. And that costs money," she said.

Edith Wolber of the Hamburg Midwives’ Association said she was in despair, despite many complaints to the federal government.

“The federal Health Minister has promised improvements, but nothing has happened," she said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Roland Jopp, said progress was being made.

"We do a lot to accommodate the concerns," Jopp said.

Officials are working on a report about the situation to determine what to do next.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:26 May 31, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
If they aren't going to pay for midwives, the State will be paying for Hospital delivery which I highly doubt is less expensive...Personally, I think every child ought to be born in the Natural way - in a Hospital close to doctors and equipment that can deal with any of the 1000 things that can go critically wrong with time scales measured in seconds. No offense intended to midwives but when they cheerfully remind us that the human race survived for millenia with just midwives they conviently forget to mention the mortality rate for mothers and children....
14:28 May 31, 2011 by trash head
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:42 May 31, 2011 by Gretl
I agree with you DavidtheNorseman, but I might add birthing centers aways from general hospitals are safer for mother and child because of the chances of viral or bacterial contamination in a hospital are quite high. Swedish Hospital where I had 2 of my daughters had a birthing center in the hospital, but the operating rooms, and the personnel were isolated from the rest of the hospital. I certainly would be dead if my only option was a mid-wife.
16:15 May 31, 2011 by JRSofty
I am married to a German Midwife, and my feeling is that the insurance companies are trying to get rid of the profession. With the requirement that they pay premiums almost as high as a medical doctor's but then not providing them with the amount of money to match.
03:59 June 1, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
@Gretl - I recall the Canadian hospital my first born was born in had that set up (though you could opt in to the full care in the actual Hospital or the Midwife care unit which had a hallway connection to the full Hospital in case things went wrong...we chose the full care from the start option and my wife and I never regreted it...there are an incredible number of incredibly complex problems possible many involving massive hemoraging: my wife says the miracle babies are the ones born with mother and child healthy :-) )

@JRSofty - I am sure it must be very frustrating. I wonder what the losses for the insurers are as a percentage for midwives vs doctors...people who lose children tend to be litiginous.
Today's headlines
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,532
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd