Being pregnant in a foreign country can be challenging! Here are some links you might find useful explaining healthcare, maternity leaves & money and where to get support.
Family Guide – Services for Family in Austria
This very helpful English brochure contains just about everything you need to know about being pregnant in Austria! You can download it here, order a copy or pick up a German version from the Zwei Und Mehr office at Karmeliterplatz 2.
Your first step will be to find a Gynecologist / Frauenartz if you don’t already have one. You can use this helpful doctor search to find a Frauenartz in your neighourhood that takes your health insurance and also speaks your language. I also have some recommendations here.
You will be given a Mutter-Kind-Pass book when your doctor confirms your pregnancy. This will contain all your examinations and health information while pregnant and also for the first 5 years of your child’s life. It’s important to remember that there are 5 set examinations before birth and 5 afterwards for the child that are compulsory for receiving your Kinderbetreuungsgeld (missing one of these means you will lose €1,300!).
Information on Healthcare
If you have ÖGK health insurance you can visit the Kundenservicestellen at Josef-Pongratz-Platz 1
8010 Graz for information on services for pregnancy and birth as well as childcare allowance. There should be someone there who can speak some English, you can also make an on-line appointment here.
Wochengeld / Mutterschutz period
This useful English page explains the protected Mutterschutz period 8 weeks before birth and 8 weeks after for working mothers (during this time it is not allowed to work and mothers receive a wochengeld allowance). Also how much Wochengeld to expect, when to inform your employer, rights while pregnant etc.
Kinderbetreuungsgeld information in English explains the 2 models of maternity money – flatrate (even for those who haven’t worked in Austria) and the income based one for those who have worked here. Also explains eligibilty requirements.
Kinderbetreuungsgeld Information in German plus an on-line calculator that helps you determine how much you can expect to receive.
AK – Abeiterkammer Steiermark offer expert advice on Wochengeld, Kinderbetreuungsgeld and Karenz, employment rights, job protection etc. They can offer individual consultations. They also have a useful booklet in German. Keep an eye out for one of their info events where they offer breakfast and you can visit different stands for information.
Try to find a midwife as soon as you can as they often book up! If you plan to give birth in a public hospital, the birth is covered by the midwife on duty but if you want to take your own midwife for a birth in a private hospital this will be need to be paid privately. You can search for one here to find one that takes your insurance (there are also lots of recommendations in the ‘Women in Graz’ facebook group mentioned below). You can also try contacting privates one as they sometimes offer the free services that are covered by your health insurance – one hour consultation between the 18 and 22nd week of pregnancy and several home visits in first 8 weeks after birth. Otherwise some other services can be refunded up to 80% by your health insurance. You can see details on what is covered and not covered here, including the useful graphic below (the green boxes are covered).
There are several midwife centers in Graz where you can find a midwife, and they also offer birth preparation courses for before and after birth as well as other services.
Support and advice
Caritas offers free support services for pregnant women, especially international women and can advise on Wochengeld, Kinderbetreuungsgeld, Wohnbeihilfe and Karenz. Plus they can offer psychological support for women feeling overwhelmed or dealing with depression before after their birth. They have a helpful guide in German explaining all your rights and financial support.
Caritas also offers free birth preparation classes for women and their partners. Can be requested in English or Farsi.
Plus they have groups for mothers and babies (breast feeding & baby massage, Rückbildungsgymnastik, Emmi Pikler and and an intercultural mothers’ group).
Frauenservice – also offer offer free advice and support (in English and other languages too) on pregnancy and healthcare and put you in touch with the right people. Plus they offer psychological support and counselling too.
City of Graz offers free parent advice at 15 centers around Graz – for example for sleeping problems, breastfeeding, medical advice, parent groups. You can find out more in their English brochure. They also offer free birth preparation classes.
Eltern-Kind-Zentrum offer LOTS of courses for before birth and after, including a special one for fathers, as well advice. They also offer English birthing courses upon request.
Männerberatung offers support services for men and they run workshops for expecting fathers and can also advise on paternity leave etc.
Family Services Steiermark– One stop shop for all your family needs! Lots of useful links on their website (in German). Or you can visit their office at Karmeliterplatz 2 where they have lots of brochures and can offer advice in English.
Frühe-Hilfen-Netzwerke offer free support and help if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed or already have small children.
Frauengesundheitszentrum also offer free advice in English and courses in German for expectant mothers.
Personal advice from other international mothers
Women in Graz – a really great facebook group for english speaking women in Graz (very useful for asking advice for midwife recommendations).
Grazer Wunderweiber – another really supportive facebook group of german speaking women in Graz. Feel free to post in English.
The IWA (International Womens Assocation) is a wonderful group of English speaking women from 38 countries. They have regular meet ups each month and there are lots of mothers in the group and a playgroup too.
Base Playgroup International playgroup meets regulary at the Seddwell Center in Gries.