BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Pregnancy and legal protection for working mothers

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Pregnancy and maternity leave

Advice is available specifically for expectant mothers and parents-to-be. If you are expecting a child, you can ask the pregnancy advice centre about any issues related to pregnancy and birth; it will provide you with information regarding medical, social and legal matters both before and during pregnancy. This advice can be provided anonymously if you prefer, and in a number of languages.

Information is available from the pregnancy advice centre in these and other areas:

  • the financial and social support available during and after pregnancy
  • employment law (with regard to maternity leave, parental leave, etc.)
  • abortion
  • the availability of confidential treatment
  • help for families and children
  • child care facilities

Pregnant women in conflict situations who are considering a termination are offered support by an agency which provides counselling in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. They must attend this service if they wish to obtain an abortion before the 12-week deadline. This advice can be provided confidentially if so requested, is always free of charge, and puts women under no pressure to opt for a particular outcome. You can find a state-approved advice centre for women with unwanted pregnancies in your locality by visiting the advice page of; a link is provided in the right-hand column.

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Most counselling services are free of charge and can also be used anonymously. Often, in addition to face-to-face counselling, there are also services available over the internet or telephone.

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The "Federal Foundation for Mother and Child – Protection for Unborn Lives" helps pregnant women in difficult situations promptly and without red tape by providing additional financial support in association with individual counselling. Pregnant women in distress can receive financial assistance if they have insufficient funds to meet the expenses of pregnancy and birth and later to care for and bring up their child; a link is provided in the right-hand column.

Pre and postnatal care

During pregnancy and after the birth you are entitled to receive care from a midwife or doctor. As soon as you know that you are pregnant, you should start consulting a gynaecologist every four weeks – from the 32nd week of pregnancy, this should in-crease to every two weeks. The costs of prenatal care will be met by your health in-surance fund.

Maternity leave for working pregnant women

Working pregnant women receive special protection – so-called maternity leave. This begins six weeks before the birth and ends eight weeks thereafter. Maternity leave is a statutory entitlement in Germany. Pregnant women are not allowed to work during this period. Their job must be kept open for them, and they can return to work once their maternity leave ends. In addition, pregnant women may not work for more than 8 ½ hours per day, and may not carry out any strenuous physical work. You can find out more from your employer or from one of the advice centres named above.

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You can find out further information about local services in your area from:

  • the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants and the Youth Advisory Service
  • gynaecologists
  • pregnancy counselling / unwanted pregnancy counselling
  • the local health authority
  • employers
Date 13 September 2016

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