Maternity services are predominantly obstetrian or hospital led. During pregnancy the majority of women are cared for by their gynaecologist/ obstetrician, and then give birth in hospital. Normal antenatal care is as across the rest of France: regular monthly antenatal checkups, which include discussion of mother’s health, regular weight checks, blood tests and vaginal examinations. Three ultrasounds are done routinely (8 weeks, 13 weeks, 20 weeks), usually in hospital. The triple test blood test is also routine, and may lead to further tests.
Normal hospital stay after birth is about 5 days following a vaginal delivery and 8 days following a caesarean birth. Follow up after the birth is in general by paediatrician a one month, and monthly intervals thereafter and by a gynaecologist at 6 weeks. The PMI (protection maternal infantile) may also offer follow up care, either with home visits or with access to baby clinics, including vaccinations.
Some cabinet de sage femme/sage femme liberal (independent midwives) exist, and some will support home birth, but there is little infrastructure or provision to support homebirth in general across Alsace. Home birth is perhaps most common in the frontalier regions supported by midwives from Switzerland or Germany. Similarly prenatal care and home visits after birth by midwives may be arranged with a midwife. Service available include: prenatal education classes, yoga in pregnancy, prenatal singing, haptonomie, sophrology, breastfeeding support, pelvic floor exercise courses and baby massage.
For more information, including directories for midwives and maternity service in Alsace see: http://maman-simplement.over-blog.com
Recommended by Jude Wright
Full service hospital with two newly added Natural Birth Rooms equipped with a bed, whirpool tub, birthing ball, and other props. Competent and highly knowledgeable staff of midwives. Breastfeeding is encouraged at this hospital with full training and follow-ups provided throughout your stay. Most rooms are private and average stay is 5 days. Hospital is situated in a beautiful forested area atop a hill.
87, Avenue dAltkirch, 68051 Mulhouse
(+ 33) 03.89.64.64.64
"I chose Hasenrain because I had a preference for being in an environment with a full range of facilities in case of any complications. I had a wonderful experience at the hospital. I had not had a tour of the hospital prior to being admitted and I was surprised to find a natural birthing room complete with pool as I had been told previously that in France very traditional methods of birth are preferred. I had an uncomplicated birth and always felt that I was being listened to. The after care was also excellent and the mid-wives provided 24 hour support over the 5 days of my stay and bar none, all were attentive, kind and helpful and provided me with lots of useful information. The only potential downside for me was that I feel I would have benefitted more from the helpful and informative staff, had I been fluent in French. My partner is French however, and during his visits he was able to speak to midwives and clarify things that I hadn’t understood in previous conversations. Generally speaking, in the hospital I found that the midwives spoke only French (or did not feel confident speaking in English) , however the doctors had English speaking abilities such as the paediatrician, the psychologist and the anaesthetist, which was helpful. I do not feel that this unduly hindered my positive experience of the hospital though." (JW, April 2012)
"I had my first baby last December at Hasenrain upon arriving in France and knowing little French. The maternity ward was run by friendly midwives who took the time to re-explain everything to my French husband. I opted for the Natural Birth Room and it helped relax me a great deal! Although still discouraged in many hospitals, natural births and breastfeeding are becoming more common in France and we felt very lucky to have stumbled upon this excellent hospital." (Kimarie Celse, March 2012)
Recommended by Kimarie Celse
Marianne Goldschmidt is an English speaking midwife (Sage-Femme) conducting regular prenatal and antenatal classes.
117B Avenue Roger Salengro, 68100 Mulhouse
"Madame Goldschmidt was the only English speaking Sage-Femme we could find in our area. This was very important as my husband was unable to attend all of the classes to translate for me. When I attended alone, Mme Goldshmidt spoke to the other Mums-to-be in French but kindly took the time to explain it all in English. She helped me with learning all the French vocabulary I’d need for the hospital and even came for a surprise visit after the birth! A lovely person and popular with clients." (KC March 2012)
Recommended by Kimarie Celse
Agnes Keller is an English speaking doula serving the Alsace region.
"I had a consultation with Agnes when I was thinking of having a doula at our birth. I was immediately struck by her calm yet radiant energy and her English is very good! She uses various touch and singing methods for relaxation. I tried to employ her but my hospital had a policy of one person only during labor and delivery and that place was reserved for my husband. I was heartbroken as France still doesn’t recognize the importance of a doula’s role. As more and more women ask for a doula’s presence, I expect France to eventually change their position." (KC, March 2012)