Pregnancy in Germany compared to Finland

Oh no, it seems that I missed once again some blog posts in the past weeks. Running your own business and having to prepare for a second child is certainly time-consuming. With the birth of our little baby girl approaching I want to share some info regarding how different the whole pregnancy process was for us thus far here in Germany compared to Finland. I must admit that both my wife and I have forgotten already a great deal about the pregnancy in Finland so I hope I get it still more or less right.

Puffed up Nathan

Back in 2013 my wife went for a pregnancy test to her “normal” doctor. The same doctor she always went when she had the flu, needed stitches when one bunny ripped her ear or for some allergy check-ups. She had taken the home pregnancy test before but she just wanted to be sure about the result. After her doctor confirmed that she was pregnant she gave us an information flyer and told us which steps to take next. For one we had to contact Neuvola, which is something like a guidance centre/ midwife centre. I believe that Neuvola is something which every country should have! There the mother gets all the pregnancy check-ups and information before giving birth. After the child is born all the doctor visits are being done in that center and the child is “being taken care” (checking the development, helping with questions etc.) untill going to Elementary school. That is certainly an all-inclusive package and it is all for free in Finland.

Nathan chillin on the groun in our Finnish Apartment back in 2014

The only other thing we had to do was to inform Kela, which is the Finnish Social Insurance Institution. Why contact the Social Insurance Institution? Well Kela is so much more than just that as it also handles retirement pay, child benefits, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, health insurance and student benefits. We had to inform Kela when the child would be born and a few months before the due date we received the famous baby box. That box has everything needed for the first month and it gives parents a good idea what to buy later on. The box itself can be also used as a crib for the first weeks. The total worth of the box is around nearly 600-800€ by my estimation and it is yet another thing which is entirely free in Finland.

By just informing Kela and Neuvola everything was pretty much set and we did not have to contact any more places for “registering” our baby. After Nathan was born we simply had to give the birthdate, confirmation of life birth etc. to Kela so all correct information would be in his file. I believe that is all we had to do but perhaps some Finnish person might add to this in case they stumble upon this article.

Just one hour after being born in Finland

Now I come to our endeavour here in Germany. Already now, way before our baby girl is born, everything is very much complicated. Let’s start with the simple part as my wife went to her gynecologist in order to confirm the pregnancy. After that all further check-ups were done at that gynecologist. Thus far it all sounds still very similar to the Finnish Neuvola however now I come to the differences. We needed to find also a midwife for us (who we will meet for the first time next week). We went for the easiest option and made an appointment at the local hospital as it has a midwife section. There the midwives are of course working at the maternity ward however they also are self-employed as midwives in order to give information for expecting mothers, come to your home every few days to check on the new born (the frequency changes later on when the child is older) and helps the mother getting back into normal life. Already now we have the gynecologist my wife needs to visit every few weeks and we have to take care on our own to have a midwife.

A surprised Monk

The midwife is also important in order as she takes care of the paperwork needed for the hospital when giving birth. It is not so much but it gives the doctors and midwives at the hospital all necessary information about the mother and the unborn child so nothing goes wrong (for example allergies to certain medications). Now I come to the part with the health insurance. This was in Finland automatically done by contacting Kela. Now as we live in Germany, a country where digitization is something for the unknown far away future, we have to go everywhere on our own as no bureau here gets information automatically. So the health insurance we need to contact before the birth so they can already give the needed documents for us to fill out once the child is born. Besides going to the health insurance we also need to go later on to the registration office with all kind of different documents in order to “register” the child officially. It may not look so different but trust me, it is a huge change for us compared to Finland were everything was so easy and worked nearly automatically.

Baby in a bucket

You can see that we favor the Finnish way much more but Germany got also a few good points. In Finland we had two ultrasound check-ups to make sure that the baby is fine. In case we wanted a 4D Ultrasound for some better pictures and get 99% certainty about the gender we would need to pay around 200 Euros. Here  in Germany my wife has every 2-4 weeks ultrasound check-ups and we had also those 4D ultrasounds twice already and paid only 40 Euros for it, as you can see it is a big difference compared to Finland. I’d say the perfect system would be a mix of both of them but you can’t have everything in life. Both countries offer with their health care systems very good methods which are for free and everyone living in those countries receives those benefits.

Last but not least I have to mention that we got a little present from the Finnish community here in Germany. Finland has this year its 100 year anniversary and it also started a huge knitting fever in Finland and for Finnish people living abroad. After emailing the Finnish community here we received for our baby girl hand knitted socks held in the colours of the Finnish flag (blue and white). Surprisingly the person who send us the socks is even the mother of a guy I know from way back when I had my Confirmation Camp in Finland (2001 or 2002). It is not the same as a Kela Baby Box but it is a nice gesture of the Finnish community and our girl will wear those socks next month!

How is the whole “process” in your country?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

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https://www.youtube.com/

Guest Post: Learning Chinese in China

Hello everyone and I have to excuse myself for missing several blog articles this month. My next full blog post will be coming this weekend and in order to shorten the wait for you I present a very interesting infographic by LearnMandarinNow.

This infographic gives anyone who is interested in studying Chinese in China a very good overview. You can see here where you can study, the slight differences depending on the country, the different study programs, how long it might take and also how high the costs might be of the whole experience.

Did you ever go to a country to study the native language there, or do you plan such language study trip?

Family Fishing Tour

Back in the day my family used to do a lot together such as going on holidays or simply meeting once in a while. Those days where all before I was born. Back then my brother Ulf went sometimes with his uncle and cousins for holidays abroad, went out eating and most importantly he and his cousin Frank had some little fishing tours. Both were still young in those days and as they got older they did not meet up for fishing any longer. Certainly my brother and his cousins still had contact during the past 30 years but it was not that much as before.

What a wonderful and interesting landscape

Last month we had our first Family Gathering since 2005. There my brother and cousin Frank somehow got to talk about fishing again. Thing is my brother did not fish since the old days but Frank stepped up the game and has caught pretty much every possible fish available in Northern Germany and Denmark. When he talked during the gathering about the past years and especially about fishing it sparked something in my brother again. Somehow I also got again interest in fishing (which I did sometimes in Finland with some old and cheap equipment) and shortly after the gathering we had a Fishing Family Group Chat on WhatsApp.

Walking over those rocks with all the equipment is not the easiest thing in the world

This all developed further within short time and for my birthday I got from my brother some new and very good fishing equipment. After that we all decided on a date on which we would meet up in Flensburg (where my cousin lives) and from there to Denmark for a daylong fishing tour at the Baltic Sea. This trip was going to be the first I did without my wife ever since we got together in 2010. Good thing that my brother decided that we should go a day earlier to Flensburg as we had a lot to prepare and to be able to arrive in Denmark as early as possible. Thing is we underestimated how much we had to prepare and in the end we all went sleeping around 1:30 am and had to wake up at 4:30 am! I can tell you that those few hours of sleep did not really give us enough rest for the rest of the day.

Last look at the sea before returning home

We left for Denmark shortly after 5am and drove to some “top spots” our cousin recommended as he had caught some nice fishes there over the past years. We all were so enthusiastic and excited when we arrived at the first location, not only because of the possibility of catching some fish but also because it was something we did together as a family. Quickly my brother and I got into our wetsuits and went into the sea. Let’s just say it was not the most successful fishing day for all of us as we did not catch any fish the entire day. We did not even spot any fish but at least we were not the only ones as all other fishermen we met had the same bad luck on that day.

Happy and tired

 

Even though we did not catch anything is was still an enjoyable day. First of all because we spent the day together and then also because of the wonderful nature all around us. I mean look at the great landscape in those pictures! Sure it was a bit disappointing to come back home in the evening empty-handed but nonetheless it felt great to come back home totally exhausted from fishing the entire day. Will I do such trip again? Definitely! In fact we are planning for another trip in the end of this month however it is not sure yet whether I will go as my wife and I are expecting soon our baby girl to be born.

Have you tried fishing?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.youtube.com/

My crazy Chinese Family I married into…