If you’re thinking about giving birth in Luxembourg, here is everything you need to know about the process, from prenatal care to registering the birth.
As an expat who is expecting, a new chapter abroad begins when giving birth in a foreign country. There are many choices to make, not least of all whether you and your new baby will be comfortable in your new home. 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 Cigna Global takes you through the process, explaining what services are provided by the public Luxembourg healthcare system, and whether or not your child can be eligible for Luxembourgish nationality. Good news – he or she can, but under specific conditions.
This guide covers the following topics:
- An overview of pregnancy and childbirth in Luxembourg
- Accessing maternity services
- Insurance for maternity costs
- Pregnancy testing in Luxembourg
- Pre-natal care in Luxembourg
- Getting an abortion
- Giving birth: Home, hospital or birth house?
- Post-natal care in Luxembourg
- Naming and registering a baby in Luxembourg
- Non-residents, visitors and tourists giving birth in Luxembourg
- Maternity and paternity leave in Luxembourg
- Maternity and child benefits
- Pregnancy vocab in French and German
- Useful links
Cigna Global provides comprehensive health insurance to over 86 million customers in over 200 countries. They have a wide access to trusted hospitals, clinics and doctors and provide expats with help on tailoring a plan to suit your individual healthcare needs.
More than 6,000 babies are born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg each year, a statistical rate of 1.47 children per woman. That’s a 17% increase between 2005 and 2015, according to the latest data from the country’s national health fund, the Caisse Nationale Santé (CNS). Boys and girls are evenly balanced, as are babies born to married couples and those born to parents in other circumstances, such as couples living together or in a civil union.
The number of foreigners having babies in Luxembourg has doubled over the same period, from 6.9% of the total in 2006 to 12% in 2015.
The CNS says a pregnancy in Luxembourg costs on average €7,780, but the state fully covers the cost of births for residents. In addition, three different allowances are paid to new parents, and the Duchy makes childcare payments until the age of 18 – but this can be extended to the age of 25 under specific conditions.
You can choose to have your Luxembourg baby in a hospital or a birth house, or even at home. Your right to making an informed decision has been enshrined in local law since 2014, so don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to.
Keep in mind that home births are not covered by public insurance, although some costs may be recovered through private insurers. Private medical insurance is also worth looking into for those who want extra facilities or security.
In Luxembourg, the principal health contact for pregnant women is a doctor, unlike in some other countries where a midwife may lead your case. This means you won’t be dealing with one friendly face throughout your pregnancy as is common under the continuity model of midwife care followed in some other countries.
However, you can direct any questions you may have to your gynecologist. Seek to establish a relationship with a gynecologist as soon as you think you may be pregnant. Ask your friends or colleagues for recommendations, or compare some of the grand duchy’s professionals from user reviews at the Médecins Spécialistes website.
You can easily choose your own doctor – and change them at any time. All Luxembourg residents are eligible to register with a doctor at a clinic local to them, and once you’re registered, your clinic will connect you to a gynecologist. You can also find a list of doctors in Luxembourg by specialty or location through the College Medical website.
Most doctors work as private practitioners but are usually contracted to provide services through the state-funded CNS, so check that they are contracted to provide state health care to avoid excess fees. Doctors are usually linked to specific hospitals, so check that your preferred specialist consults with the hospital where you’d like to give birth to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
Expatica’s guide has more about finding a doctor in Luxembourg.
All employees and self-employed workers in Luxembourg are required to make sufficient social security contributions to be entitled to Luxembourg healthcare services; if you are employed, healthcare contributions will be automatically taken out of your wages by your employer. These payments entitle you to access medical services at any local doctor under Luxembourg’s health insurance system.
Someone working in Luxembourg but living abroad – referred to as a cross-border worker – will need to follow healthcare procedures in their country of residence. The CNS also co-insures partners of Luxembourgish workers, either married or civil, provided they are resident in the territory. You’ll need to fill out a form called S041/ E104 or similar in this case.
The CNS works through a system of reimbursements for out-patient consultations, while it settles pharmacy, hospital, physiotherapy and laboratory costs directly with the provider.
Public health insurance covers the majority of maternity costs, but it’s useful to have private insurance to fill any payment gaps. Here are some of the expat-friendly international health insurance companies which provide maternity coverage:
It’s easy to buy a home pregnancy test in Luxembourg. Most pharmacies and supermarkets sell home-testing kits and these are largely accurate from the first day your period is due. There are also tests you can use earlier – ask the pharmacist which works for you.
You can also proceed directly to your clinic for a blood test. Like urine tests, these look for the beta HCG hormone, which is produced by the placenta, but blood tests usually detect the hormone earlier.
However, you will need a prescription for any lab work if insurance is to cover it.
Pregnancy care in Luxembourg is led by the gynecologist and well regarded internationally.
Before birth, you will visit the obstetrician regularly and receive monthly check-ups on blood, pressure, urine and heart rate.
They will also perform at least three ultrasound scans, and it’s also standard to be asked if you want an ultrasound at each appointment to monitor the baby’s growth. In Luxembourg, 3D scans are also available, and while they offer beautifully enhanced images, they do not provide extra medical information.
Expect a battery of other tests. By the end of the first trimester, doctors will run a blood check for rubella, toxoplasmosis and the cytomegalovirus (CMV). In the fourth month, you may be offered a risk assessment test for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome or aberrations of the central nervous system, such as spina bifida. After that there’ll be blood and urine tests every month.
One month before birth, besides assessments for the overall health of both you and your baby, the doctor will also seek to determine the baby’s position (if s/he is facing head down and ready for birth) and estimated birth weight, as well as the size of your pelvis. A smear test for Group B streptococci will also be run at this point – if it’s positive, the medical team will usually administer antibiotics at the time of birth.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you like about the procedures and to determine your own course of action. The standard protocols are discussed in the Grand Duchy’s free Quoi de Neuf guide, which is published in several languages. The global organization Evidence Based Birth has a lot of information on the different options available to expectant mothers.
Other medical consultations ahead of having a baby in Luxembourg will include at least two sessions with midwives in the fifth and seventh months, and a meeting with an anesthetist in the ninth month to discuss epidurals and emergency procedures. If you’re writing a birth plan, make sure to discuss it with your midwife by the seventh month.
There are a wide range of prenatal classes available in Luxembourg. The different maternity hospitals usually offer classes in English, French or Luxembourgish; German-language sessions are also possible.
These are usually free and cover a wide range of topics from diet and naturopathy to emotional support, sexual counselling and yoga, acupuncture and hypno-birthing techniques. Some classes are available at:
- Maternité Grande Duchesse Charlotte
- Clinique Privée Docteur Bohler
- Initativ Liewensufank
- Centre Hospitalier du Nord
- Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch
Social or independent organizations
You can also find an independent midwife to come to your home, either before or after the birth of your baby.
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.
Abortion in Luxembourg has been legal since 1978. A woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks after conception (or 14 weeks after the last menstrual period). She needs two consultations with a doctor, one medical and one psycho-social, and a waiting period of at least three days. Later-period abortions are only possible when two doctors certify there is a danger to the mother or fetus. Underage patients must be accompanied by an adult to the consultations and to the surgery itself.
Doctors in Luxembourg may opt out of providing abortion services on grounds of conscience but must refer the patient to another medical practitioner under a 2012 law.
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 women giving birth at home, but home birth in Luxembourg is also possible. Birthing pools can be rented, and being in a natural non-clinical environment simply feels better to some women.
Mothers-to-be are advised to communicate their desire for a home birth to their gynecologist or obstetrician as early as possible. 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 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.
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.
Some birth houses close to Luxembourg are:
- Arche de Noé – Maison de Naissance, Belgium
- Un Nid pour Naître – Maison de Naissance, France
- Geburtshaus Merzig, Germany
- Geburtshaus Saarburg, Germany
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 labor bed doubles as a delivery bed in your private room. Women who have a hospital birth in Luxembourg generally stay three to four days.
In some cases, mothers can choose to be discharged earlier, with home visits from a midwife up to the tenth day after birth. This is called ambulatory or outpatient delivery and the midwife assumes the role of principal carer, offering information and advice, including on breastfeeding. Should a Cesarean section be necessary, the hospitals will extend your stay to four to seven days for the extra needed care and attention.
Hospital births and outpatient births are both reimbursed by the sickness fund.
Maternity hospitals in Luxembourg 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)
Need to know: Labor, when to go to the hospital and birth
Before labor, moms-to-be have usually come up with an ideal birthing plan and perhaps also have a few backups. 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 gynecologist on the same page of your needs while in labor. And if possible see if you can get your plan translated in French and/or German depending on your region in Luxembourg.
When it comes to labor, modern advice recommends staying at home once you go into labor until the time your contractions are regular and strong, and are coming every four or five minutes or so. At this point, you should call your doula or the delivery ward (salle d’accouchement) at your hospital. The nurse will take you through a series of questions and recommend a course of action.
Head to hospital immediately if you’re bleeding, your waters have broken and the fluid is green, brown or yellow, if you’re in unbearable pain or are vomiting or the baby isn’t moving. Call 112 and ask for a “SAMU” or ambulance. Phone ahead before arrival to ensure the hospital is ready and that your birth plan – such as a tub for a water birth – will be carried out. Maternity doors may be closed after 10pm, but there’s usually a bell to press when you arrive.
When you arrive at the hospital, you will need an identity card, healthcare card (carte de securité sociale), blood group card, the name of your paediatrician, and any extra insurance documents (mutuelle) if you need it. Bring your own towels, pajamas and comfortable clothing, slippers, disposable undergarments and breast pads, toiletries and tools for relaxation.
At the hospital, standard procedures and monitoring are handled by midwives, and their initial questions about you contractions and water break will help them determine in how far into labor 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.
Hospitals in Luxembourg follow a general rule of one labor supporter, such as your partner. If you would like more ask your gynecologist about the policy.
While you are in labor the midwife will report your progress and stats to the gynecologist 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 Cesarean operation, or a surgical cut through the abdomen and womb to birth the baby, anesthesia will be on standby.
Once the child is born, the pediatrician will do a check-up within 48 hours. There will continue to be regular check-ups with the same pediatrician 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.
Luxembourg offers plenty of places for moms to head to – and take their new baby along. From yoga and Pilates to swimming and gyms, you really are spoiled for choice. Here are some options to consider:
- The Luxembourg National Swimming and Rescue Federation
- Baby swim classes at Syrdall Schwemm
- Toning and stretching at MammaFit
- General fitness classes at Fitdankbaby
- Baby Boot Camp at GetFit
- Babies under one year at Initiativ Liewensufank
- Postnatal yoga at Yogaloft
- Claire Marie Pilates & Wellness
- Pilates and outdoor sports with Julie Wagner
- Classes and camps at The Little Gym
- Sensory learning and development at Baby Sensory
Vaccinations in Luxembourg
Children born in Luxembourg have a rigorous schedule of vaccinations beginning at the age of two months with a combined dose of diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, HIB influenza, polio and hepatitis B, as well as shots for the rotavirus and pneumococci. Subsequent inoculations follow at three, four, 12 and 13 months, with a final shot between 15 and 23 months. After that, the next set is around the age of five years.
The official website has a calendar of vaccinations in Luxembourg (in French).
Nurseries and childcare
Over half of families living in Luxembourg use some type of childcare. More than a third use a daycare crèche for kids four years old or younger, and children spend nearly 30 hours a week at some form of day care. A smaller portion use the services of a nanny, au pair or paid parental assistant.
Children age of four and under who are living in Luxembourg can be enrolled in a crèche, similar to a nursery school. These are available to all Luxembourg residents and highly recommended by the Luxembourg Ministry of Education.
More about the early learning system is at Expatica’s guide to daycare and childcare in Luxembourg.
Nursing mothers in Luxembourg who must return to work are entitled to two 45-minute breaks for breastfeeding during the workday. More information on the law and what you’re entitled to is available at the Caisse Nationale de Santé (in French).
Luxembourg’s maternity hospitals all offer help and support with feeding. You can also book a home visit with a community midwife. Health insurance covers the first visit and you can ask your doctor to prescribe more if you need them or pay for extra. Women who’ve chosen ambulatory or outpatient delivery are entitled to 10 home visits from a Sage Femme.
Here is a list of breastfeeding classes and support groups:
Can’t abide the patriarchy? Luxembourg’s got you covered. Since 2006, parents in the Grand Duchy can give their child either or both of their own family names, regardless of whether they are married or not. The only requirement is that all children of the same parents must have the same family name. More information on names is available at the Luxembourg government website.
Your child must be named when you register him or her – by law, within five days of birth, or if the fifth day is a holiday, on the next working day. Registration must be done at the Office de l’Etat Civil in the commune where you live. Either parent may register the child, and in their absence, the doctor, midwife or anyone else present at the birth. Bring the birth declaration (avis de naissance) from the 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.
The commune issues several copies of the official birth certificate. You are also required to contact your embassy and follow any national procedures your country may have – in the case of Portuguese and Cape Verdean parents, this needs to be done before declaring your child at the civil registry. This measure is to prevent the child from becoming stateless or automatically receiving Luxembourg nationality.
You will also be required to present the birth certificate to your local municipal administration – if that’s different from where he or she was born, to your employer, to the National Fund for Family Benefits (CNPF) as well as registering your child’s birth with the insurance fund to obtain a social security number and any pertinent allowances.
Visitors to Luxembourg are required to obtain travel insurance before visiting the country. While EU citizens are covered by reciprocal rules and their European Health Insurance Card is usually enough, non-resident tourists and visitors must have insurance – or pay privately for maternity costs.
Should you find you need to give birth earlier than planned in an emergency, ring Luxembourg’s emergency helpline at 112. You’ll be directed to one of the hospitals on this page, and the procedures are as outlined above.
Typically, travel insurance covers you for complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth, not for routine treatments or a normal birth – but it’s best to check with your insurer before leaving, or to take out a private insurance policy that specifically covers delivery.
The CNS estimates that the average pregnancy cost €7,780 in 2015, but exact delivery costs of uninsured births are not available.
Can your child get Luxembourgish citizenship?
A child must have one parent with Luxembourgish nationality to be eligible for citizenship of this EU country.
Children who’ve been resident in Luxembourg for at least five years when they turn 18 are eligible to apply for citizenship, or if one of his parents or adoptive parents has been legally and habitually resident in Luxembourg for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the birth. This second condition only applies to children born after 1 July 2013. More details are available at the government website Guichet.lu (in French).
Read about obtaining citizenship in Luxembourg in Expatica’s guide.
Maternity leave (allocation de maternité) is available for working mothers for eight weeks before and 12 weeks after birth.
Pregnant women must have had social security for at least six months during the year preceding the start of maternity leave. In order to take her leave, she must send a medical certificate indicating the presumed date of delivery to the National Health Fund (CNS) within the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. Calculate your maternity leave allocation and dates at the CNS website.
The child’s father may benefit from 10 days’ extraordinary leave on the occasion of the birth of the child.
The Luxembourg Chamber of Employees has a detailed brochure about parental leave its website.
In addition, parents are able to take leave of six months. One parent must take the leave immediately after the end of maternity leave, while the other can book their leave at any time up to the child’s sixth birthday. However, both parents cannot take parental leave at the same time and one person’s leave cannot be added to the other’s.
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.
More information is on the official website (in French).
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 gynecologist 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.
Women on maternity leave are entitled to cash benefits paid by the CNS. The allowance corresponds to the highest salary received during the last 3 months preceding maternity leave and may be supplemented by the average of the supplements and accessories of the last 12 months preceding the month preceding the beginning of the maternity leave. For independent, self-employed women, the allowance corresponds to the contributory base applied at the time of the maternity leave, while the payment for part-time workers is established according to the minimum hourly social wage.
Pregnant women are required to remain employed during their maternity leave, but can resign afterwards without a notice period only if they want to devote themselves exclusively to raising their child. Resignation without notice is not possible for those who want to change employers at the end of their maternity leave. The Luxembourg government details the conditions for maternity leave and benefits on its website.
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