Being pregnant also means having special rights and protection in many areas of your life. As far as your profession is concerned, you are now particularly protected by the Maternity Protection Act. You are also entitled to comprehensive medical benefits. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you are entitled to special support. If you are not married, separated or living alone, you often have to make decisions concerning family law for yourself and your child.
However, many women also feel an increased need to do only the best for themselves and their unborn child. You can inform yourself about these topics so that you can decide for yourself what you need as per your life circumstances, where you get further information from and possibly advice and support and which offers you do not want to consider.
You can contact the pro familia- counselling centres with all questions about pregnancy and birth. pro familia is committed to the implementation of sexual and reproductive rights and has the following principles with regard to consultation:
The Maternity Protection Act regulates the rights and obligations of employees (including home-based workers) who are pregnant and also their employers. During pregnancy and also shortly after birth, you are generally protected against dismissal and, in most cases, against a temporary reduction in your income. It also protects your health during pregnancy and that of your child against dangers at the workplace.
In detail, it regulates the design of the workplace during standing activities, possible employment prohibitions during work with loads, radiation exposure or harmful emissions, during chord or assembly line work, during constantly standing activities and with increased accident risks. Night shift of work, weekend work and overtime are also subject to certain regulations and employment prohibitions.
In the event of an employment ban, the expectant mother receives her previous average earnings (maternity protection wage), considering any increases in earnings and holiday or Christmas bonuses. The employment prohibitions also hold applicable to breastfeeding.
All pregnant female employees, including those not insured by the statutory health insurance, must be granted free time for necessary medical check-ups, which are only possible during working hours, without a reduction in pay.
The employer should be notified of the pregnancy as soon as the pregnancy is known. However, you are not legally obligated to notify the employer of the pregnancy as soon as you know about it. For example, if you want to disclose in the 6th week of pregnancy or in the 12th week is totally up to you. You should also make your decision after considering whether you are working at a job that could affect your health and that of the child, or whether you are ill in the first few weeks of your pregnancy.
The maternity protection period generally begins six weeks before the calculated date of birth and normally ends eight weeks after the birth. In case of medically premature births, i.e. usually with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams and also in case of other premature births, the maternity protection period after the birth is extended by the days, which could not be claimed before the birth. This means that all employees are entitled to a maternity protection period of at least 14 weeks. You can decide for yourself how long you wish to take advantage of the maternity protection period before the birth. This shortens the total time of 14 weeks accordingly.
During the maternity protection period, you will receive maternity pay from the health insurance company and an employer's allowance equal to the net wage, if you are insured with the statutory health insurance company. In order to do this, you must submit an application to your health insurance company at least 7 weeks before the date of birth. Other employees receive up to 210 euros. The application must be submitted to the Federal Insurance Office. When calculating the employer's contribution to the maternity allowance, any increases in earnings which take effect during the periods of maternity protection must be taken into account. Small businesses receive 100% of the essential employer costs in the event of maternity from the statutory health insurance.
Further information can be found on the page www.mutterschaftsgeld.de of the Federal Insurance Office, Maternity Office.
Contact points in the federal states can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs
Women, who are insured under the statutory health insurance scheme, also as family members, receive comprehensive pregnancy and maternity benefits in accordance with the Maternity Protection Act. There are very different options for those privately insured. You must enquire about this with your health insurance company.
During pregnancy, you are entitled to comprehensive care and preventive services from doctors and midwives. You will receive your maternity record, in which all preventive services during pregnancy are documented.
You can visit the doctor's office at least once a month for preventive examinations; in case of acute problems, additional appointments are of course also possible. Three ultrasound examinations are intended. It is also possible that your doctor will recommend additional examinations, e.g. the examination of the amniotic fluid or special ultrasound examinations.
You can also have a midwife take care of you during pregnancy. Women who are interested in holistic birth preparation with individual conversations, body-oriented offers and less medically oriented care are happy to make use of this offer.
From the 25th week of pregnancy, you are entitled to a birth preparation course offered by midwives or family education centres. Here, too, there are various options for designing a course. Important information about the last phase of pregnancy and childbirth is given here, along with practice of breathing and body techniques for childbirth. It also contains information and physical exercises about the last trimester of pregnancy.
Many couples live in a non-marital relationship before the birth of their first child; other women do not live together with the father of the child, others might just separate.
If you decide to get married, the legal framework of family law according to the German Civil Code (BGB) holds applicable. Paternity, custody, property law and partnership-based division of labour are the central points. The decision as to which name you should bear is made at the time of the marriage, as are those concerning the so-called matrimonial property regime.
You can either choose a common married name or keep your names. Here, however, you must agree what name the children should have. If you later decide on a common married name, you must make a publicly certified declaration.
The matrimonial property law regulates the legal effects of a marriage on the assets of the spouses and property relationships in the marriage. The normal case, the joint gain, take place if nothing else has been regulated by a marriage contract.
In a non-marital partnership, you make decisions about paternity and custody and the name of the child.
The acknowledgement of paternity is an amicable declaration of the unmarried parents, which can be made during pregnancy personally at the youth welfare office, registry office, notary or local court. Thereafter, a joint declaration of custody can also be submitted to the Youth Welfare Office. This joint custody declaration is only possible with the consent of the mother. Without the custody declaration, the mother has sole parental custody. The child is automatically given the mother's name unless you decide on the father's surname, documented by a joint declaration to the registry office.
As far as maintenance is concerned, there is no difference between children born inside or outside of wedlock; they stand legally equal in all property matters.
Unmarried mothers are not treated in the same way as married mothers in terms of maintenance. As a rule, their entitlement is limited to the first three years of the child's life, and they are currently ranked lower than wives. According to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, the legislature must make a new decision on this.
The question of maintenance is particularly important for women who do not live with the child's father, but also holds applicable to non-marital partnerships. The father of the child is obligated, within the scope of his ability to pay the maintenance for the period of maternity leave. The maintenance obligation begins at the earliest 4 months before the birth of the child, if you cannot work due to pregnancy or an illness caused by pregnancy. The father must also pay the costs of childbirth, if the health insurance does not cover them. As a rule, you are entitled to child support for 3 years after the birth of the child, if you are unable to work because you have to take care of the child. On the contrary, it can of course also be the case that a working mother is dependent on father, if the latter does not work because he has to take care of the child.
In reality, this claim is often not implemented because it would either have to be enforced by the courts or, if the claim is being considered in a claim for ALG II, but then replaced by the state benefit ALG II.