Having your baby in Luxembourg
More than 6,000 babies are born in Luxembourg every year, making the average birth rate 1.5 per woman.
Most new arrivals are born in maternity hospitals and the birth process is funded by the CNS (National Health Fund) if you or your partner have paid contributions. You can also choose to have your baby in a birthing centre (in Germany, France or Belgium) or even at home (subject to current Covid restrictions).
You can buy pregnancy testing kits in pharmacies and supermarkets. If the test is positive you should visit an obstetrician/gynaecologist (OBGYN) who will be your main point of contact during pregnancy. OBGYN are often linked to specific hospitals so consider this if you have a specific maternity hospital in mind. You can find a list here.
At the hospital however, new mothers say that your OBGYN may not be available so you may get support only from the duty one, and it is likely that they will not be with you during the whole of your labour but possibly in the final hour or so, although a midwife should also attend to you throughout labour.
Once your OBGYN has confirmed you are pregnant with a medical certificate, working mothers should send this by registered post to their employer as formal notification that they are pregnant and will be taking maternity leave. Self-employed mothers who pay social security contributions can also take maternity leave and benefits but must inform the CNS directly. This tool will help you to calculate your maternity leave.
Termination, morning after and abortion pill
Women can terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks after conception (14 weeks after the last menstrual period), following two consultations with a doctor (one medical and one psycho-social) and a 3-day waiting period. Not all doctors are obliged to provide this service but if your doctor doesn’t, you can ask them to refer you to one that does.
Emergency contraception or the "morning after pill" can be obtained without a prescription from any chemist and should be taken as soon as possible or within five days of having unprotected sex. The abortion pill RU486 is available in Luxembourg for up to 49 days from the first day of your last period but can be obtained only with a prescription, and a reflection period prior to termination is required.
You can visit the Family Planning website for more information and advice, and there are family planning centres at Esch-sur-Alzette, Ettelbruck and Luxembourg City.
Monthly visits to the ObGyn for check-ups on blood pressure, urine and your heart will also be supplemented by three ultrasound scans. Your doctor will also run a blood test for rubella, toxoplasmosis and CMV in the first trimester and you may be offered a chromosomal abnormality test in the fourth month of pregnancy if your baby is considered at risk.
A month before the birth your doctor will determine the position of the baby and test you for any infections for which you might need antibiotics.
You will also get two sessions with your midwife during the 5th and 7th month of pregnancy, and a chance to meet the anaesthetist before the birth to discuss you birth plan and any views you have on epidurals and emergency procedures such as caesareans and episiotomies.
Free antenatal classes are available in English, French, German and Luxembourgish but you should have your birth plan translated into French or German for the obstetrician and midwife who will be present at your baby's birth. Antenatal classes may not take place at the maternity unit but via zoom online due to Covid restrictions.
Maternity hospitals in Luxembourg:
Central Hospital Luxembourg City
Clinique Bohler (part of Hopitaux Robert Schuman)
Central Hospital Emile Mayrisch (South)
The Initativ Liewensufank runs numerous courses and consultations on birth in French, Luxembourgish and German.
Home births are not common but possible in Luxembourg. You should tell your gynaecologist and obstetrician as soon as possible if you plan one, and be aware that the CNS does not cover medical costs for home births.
There are birthing centres in Germany, Belgium and France, staffed by delivery nurses, midwives and obstetricians, providing a natural environment for the birth including birthing pools and family rooms. The CNS may cover this on a case by case basis, and if you have European Health Assurance (EU institution employees) you will be covered.
The most common place to give birth is the maternity units within the main hospitals of Luxembourg listed earlier. If there are no complications or you aren't having an elected caesarean, then you can expect to stay in hospital for three days (although you can get permission to leave earlier).
When to go and what to take
General advice is to go into hospital when your contractions are 4 to 5 minutes apart. However, you should go immediately if you are bleeding, if there are issues when your waters break such as discoloration, or if you are vomiting or experiencing severe abdominal pain.
Your birthing plan should state the pain medication you want to receive and you should take a copy of it together with a bag with suitable clothes, pyjamas, slippers, and clothes for your new born to last at least 3 days. Don't forget to take nappies - disposable or cloth.
You will need to take your ID, your CNS card or other insurance documents (especially if you have additional cover for a private room), your blood group card and the name of your paediatrician.
The OBGYN on duty will check how dilated your cervix is and the baby’s position, and discuss with you if you might need a procedure like a caesarean or episiotomy.
Your baby will be checked within 48 hours of birth and you will be given a book for future check ups and vaccinations. You will have a medical check up 2 weeks after you gave birth.
Baby vaccinations begin at 2 months with diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, HIB influenza, polio and hepatitis B. They continue at 3, 4, 12 and 13 months up to the child’s 5th birthday. You can find a calendar of vaccinations for children through to adulthood here.
Hospitals also provide help and support with breastfeeding and you can contact La Leche League for further assistance.
New mothers are also entitled to pelvic rehabilitation after giving birth and you can speak to your OBGYN about at your 6 week check up. There are many physiotherapists specialised in pelvic health, and post-partum women are entitled to 8 sessions of pyshio and can have a further kinestherapy prescription if further treatment is necessary.
Registering the birth
A child born in Luxembourg can take both the surnames of its parents but you must register the birth within five days at the Office de l’Etat Civil at your commune. The Midwife will give you a birth declaration in hospital which you must bring together with the ID of the person registering the birth. Married couples should bring a copy of their wedding certificate. If you are not married, both parents must sign a declaration stating the child’s chosen names.
If you are both foreign residents your child will not automatically have Luxembourgish citizenship but will be able to apply for it later. You should contact your embassy for information on registering the nationality of your child.
The commune will issue you with copies of the birth certificate which you can use to register your child with the National Fund for family benefits (CNFP) and with the CNS to receive allowances and healthcare. You can find out more about registering your new baby on the guichet website.
You can find out more about parental leave and benefits (including the birth allowance and maternity leave) in this article, about the CNS in this article, and about childcare options in this article.
Passage Parents has lots of information in English and a month by month guide for new parents in Luxembourg, giving a list of support services. Facebook groups Tente des terres rouges organises birthing circles, birthing prep classes, and gatherings for pregnant women whilst Luxembourg Family Matters group is also a good reference for pre and post natal advice.
There are plenty of yoga studios and teachers who offer pre and post natal yoga, plus yoga with baby. Read our article on Where to try yoga. And after you've had your little bundle of joy, there are plenty of activities and playgroups to join. Check our article on Parent, baby and toddler activities.