If you’re planning to have a baby in Luxembourg, here a guide on giving birth in Luxembourg from prenatal care to registering the birth.
As an expat living in Luxembourg who is expecting, a new chapter abroad begins, and there are many choices to make when giving birth in a foreign country. From the pregnancy to after birth, here is what you need to know when having a baby in Luxembourg, including your insurance options. International health insurance provider Bupa Global explains what you need to know to have a baby in Luxembourg and what services are provided by the public Luxembourg healthcare system.
Before birth, you will visit the obstetrician regularly and receive monthly check-ups on blood, pressure, and heart rate. An organisation called Well Baby Clinic organises English tours of the maternity centres if you would like to familiarise yourself in advance. The organisation also offers prenatal classes, yoga and informal meetings for mothers-to-be.
To receive maternity benefits, women must go through five medical examinations and a dental check, the first within the initial three months of pregnancy. A gynaecologist will perform a number of ultra-sound exams, blood tests, urine tests, and triple tests to check for any abnormalities. Women over 35 will also receive an amniocentesis fluid sample test just for extra precautions.
Doulas as birth companions and post-birth supporters give help, advice and other support during pregnancy, during birth and after the birth. While they have received general nurse training, their role lies more within the practitioner and emotional aspects of pregnancy. Initiativ Liewensufank is one Doula centre in Luxembourg that aims to improve birthing through doula services.
Home, hospital or birth house?
One of the questions that comes to mind is where do you want to give birth, and in what type of surroundings? While many countries encourage hospital birth, Luxembourg is open to alternatives, and there are a few unique and attractive options. Talk to your friends and fellow moms-to-be to see what plans they’ve made, but remember that in the end this is your own journey and decision to make. Regardless of the decision you will always have a midwife, and a paediatrician will schedule a check-up within 48-hours after delivery. Three general ideas that are talked about are home births, birth houses, and hospital births.
While countries like The Netherlands have a high percentage of giving birth at home, home birth in Luxembourg is also possible. Birthing pools can be rented, and being in a natural non-clinical environment can feel simply better to some. The mother-to-be should communicate the idea with her gynaecologist or obstetrician as early as possible. If you want to give birth at home, The CNS (National Health Fund) does not cover the medical costs, however extra possibilities like reclaiming midwife costs could work depending on if you have a private insurer and what their regulations are. Call your insurer to confirm what will and will not be covered during a home birth. On average, there are six or less home births in Luxembourg, however the roles of a Midwife completely overlap should you decide to have a birth at home, and visit Sages Femmes for more about midwives for home births. While home birth are not common, they are proven to be a consideration among many women who are having their second or third child.
If home births are something of an interest, but the thought of being too distant from medical help is a concern, consider a birth house. Birth houses, birth hotels or birthing centres is a healthcare centre with delivery nurses, midwives and obstetricians to facilitate births in a natural home environment. Birthing tubs, queen-size beds, having family in the room, and the freedom to move around are encouraging aspects that hospital births usually do not have. For insurance, while the Caisse Nationale Sante (CNS) coverage still depends on the case, the European Health Assurance covers home births for those who work at European institutions.
Birth Houses near Luxembourg:
Hospital births are by far the most common method of giving birth in Luxembourg, and there are four maternity hospital wards to consider. All delivery nurses are trained midwives, and when the time comes your labour bed doubles as a delivery bed in your private room. Women who have a hospital birth in Luxembourg generally stay three to four days, although some women are discharged earlier and a midwife comes to their home up to the fourth day after birth. Should a caesarean section be necessary, the hospitals will extend your stay to four to seven days for the extra needed care and attention. Generally your obstetrician or gynaecologist is already working with a certain hospital, which include:
- Luxembourg City: the Maternité Grande Duchesse Charlotte (CHL) and the Clinique Privée Docteur Bohler
- Esch-sur-Alzette: Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch
- Ettelbruck: Centre Hospitalier du Nord (CHdN)
Before labour, mums-to-be have usually come up with an ideal birthing plan, an perhaps a few back ups. What is your take on pain medication? On skin to skin, or any post placenta wishes? Birth plans are great to help get your team of supporters, midwives and gynaecologist on the same page of your needs while in labour. And if possible see if you can get your plan translated in French and/or German depending on your region in Luxembourg.
When to go to the hospital
Women experiencing pregnancy for the first time might be unsure when it is the right time to head to the hospital. Monitor your baby’s movements, and don’t forget your midwife or gynaecologist is only a phone call away for advice. Otherwise a call to the delivery room to describe your current state can also be helpful. It also is a good idea to call the hospital before leaving your home so the delivery room is ready upon your arrival.
When you arrive at the hospital, you will need an identity card, healthcare card (Carte de securité sociale), blood group card, name of your paediatrician (mandatory), and any extra insurance documents (mutuelle) if you need it. Bring your own towels, pajamas and comfortable clothing, slippers, disposable undergarments and breast pads, tolietries and tools for relaxation.
If your water has not broken, but you are having contractions, there is a possibility of waiting until contractions are strong and regular, five minutes apart or less and last around one minute. Generally, if your water breaks and your baby moves less than before, you are near labour. And lastly, go directly to the hospital if you show and signs of fever, headache, vision change, pain in your abdomen or heavy vaginal bleeding (Call 112 and ask for a “SAMU” or ambulance).
Labour and Birth
The standard procedures and monitoring are taking care of by midwives, and their initial questions about you contractions and water break will help them determine in how far into labour you are. A vaginal examination might be requested to see how dilated your cervix is and see your baby’s position. They will check your vitals, lightly push and use a Doppler monitor to determine your baby’s heart rate. Some maternity hospitals have relaxation pools or inflatable balls to help during the birthing process. Hospitals in Luxembourg follow a general rule of one labour supporter, such as your partner. If you would like more as your gynaecologist about the policy.
While you are in labour the midwife will report your progress and stats to the gynaecologist over the phone. Any discussion on how to move forward will of course only happen if you agree to their recommendations. If there is a need for a caesarean operation, or a surgical cut through the abdomen and womb to birth the baby, anaesthesia will be on standby.
After birth and Maternity Leave
Once the child is born, the paediatrician will do a check-up within 48 hours. There will continue to be regular check-ups with the same paediatrician or a new one should you wish to switch. You will be given a book for the baby with all the necessary details on future checkups and vaccinations. The mother will have a medical check-up after two weeks.
Every baby must be registered in the commune of your district within five days. It is essential to do so within this time period, or complications may arise. To receive a birth certificate, the newborn must be registered at the Office de l’Etat Civil in the Commune within five days after birth, and by someone present at the child’s birth like the father. Hospital papers and passports are needed. The commune will give you an official birth certificate. You should also contact your embassy along with the commune.
Children are usually required to take the father’s surname, unless the parents are not married and the father’s name is not on the birth certificate. Recently, it has been legalised to give the child both parents’ surnames. Bring the birth declaration (avis de naissance) from the doctor or midwife, wedding certificate, identity card of the mother and whomever is declaring the birth. Unmarried parents must bring a declaration stating the child’s chosen name signed by both parents.
Maternity leave (allocation de maternité) is available for non-working mothers for eight weeks before and eight weeks after birth. Parental leave is up to six months. One of the parents must take the leave immediately after the end of maternity leave. The other parent can take at any time up to the child’s fifth birthday, but not at the same time as the other parent. Parental leave is paid by the Family Allowances Fund Office. The six months parental leave entitles the parent to a monthly allowance (reviewed annually, but corresponding approximately to the minimum legal salary). The employer must be informed in writing and is required to re-employ the worker in an equivalent position at the end of the parental leave.
The important terms (French – German)
Pregnancy: la grossesse – Schwangerschaft
Childbirth: l’accouchement – Geburt eines Kindes
Maternity leave: congé de maternité – Mutterschaftsurlaub
Parental leave: le congé parental – Elternurlaub
Midwife: sage-femme – Hebamme
Father: père – Vater
Mother: mere – Mutter