What happened so far...





What happened so far....

For all of you who have ever wondered how it actually came about that Hamburg gets a new birth center, here is a "short" summary of the last months...

The idea of founding a birth center has been rumbling around in the heads of some of us for a while. Then, in September 2019, we were invited to a first info meeting at Geburtshaus Hamburg on the topic of founding a birth center.

This first meeting resulted in an active working group, which founded a non-profit association as a first step: Neues Geburtshaus für Hamburg e.V. Incidentally, this was an amazingly complicated undertaking for complete newcomers to the association system. Fortunately, the Netzwerk der Geburtshäuser e.V. provided us with active support here (and in many other areas as well).


The idea of founding an association arose from the desire to give our working group a legal form and to have the possibility to collect donations for our project. In the meantime our association grew well, we could welcome regular members and supporting members. If you would like to know more about our association or become a member yourself, please have a look here https://www.neues-geburtshaus-hamburg.de/



Interesting to know is probably the fact that we all only got to know each other through the founding work and at the beginning sat together as "strangers " at the same table. As is so often the case, the composition of the group changed a few more times over the course of time, new people joined and others turned to other stages of life and tasks. In the future, we will continue to welcome more people with new ideas and energy to move this project forward.

In the early days of the project, we met about every 2 weeks and worked on work assignments in the meantime. With the onset of the Corona pandemic, our meetings became more regular, but ran mostly on Zoom. At this point, we also decided to split into smaller work groups: Concept and Business Plan, Property, and Social Media.  

We used the breather between the first two Corona waves to get clear on some basic things during a small retreat. Amidst much celebration, we were finally able to agree on a name for the future birth house: House for Birth and Health! Even though our name brainstorming sessions were always a lot of fun, it was a great relief to put a green tick behind the naming process!


Conception and Business Plan

The concept and business plan group did some incredibly valuable work, pulling all-nighters to fiddle with the big and small numbers. The result is a detailed business plan, 12 pages, designed for the first three years, which allows us to calculate different income and expenses, e.g. to estimate what rent we can afford, how much debt capital we need and what payments to the partners we can expect after the opening. At this point a big thank you to Felix Getzmann!

The business plan is closely interwoven with the concept behind our birth center. Relatively early in the project development it became clear that we would like to establish a birth center that actively contributes to breaking down barriers and providing low-threshold, culturally sensitive and broad-based access to health promotion. Important components of the concept are postpartum and pregnancy consultations, the involvement of language mediators as well as counseling, courses and further education throughout the entire reproductive phase - from puberty to menopause. Our birth center has the idea to think health in a more holistic, feminist and self-determined way.

Now that the business plan and the concept are ready, it is a matter of establishing contacts with possible cooperation partners and finalizing negotiations with politicians and the Ministry of Labor, Health, Social Affairs, Family and Integration. 




Since we live as a group quite scattered in Hamburg, we first tried to find out which districts are easy to reach for all of us. We quickly discovered that our "favorite districts" hardly overlapped. The next approach was then to pick out the districts that are particularly affected by the shortage of midwives and that would also benefit significantly from our low-threshold, culturally sensitive and multilingual approach. As a result, we then paid particular attention to the Hamburg-Mitte area and were also in negotiations for spaces in Rothenburgsort and Hammerbrook, among others. However, our search is not over yet. The high rents, our very specific requirements, e.g. with regard to escape and rescue routes, and the often hesitant attitude of the owners continue to make it exciting.
With every property we find that seems to be a good fit, we hope to be able to open in the fall. We are still motivated and talking to many people. At this point, a big thank you to Saskja Jagenteufel (architect) who is a tremendous help to us.


Social Media / Graphic Design / Website

We struggled with this mammoth task for quite some time until we found our way through the social media jungle with professional support, especially from Anna Mohme. In the meantime, we're having a lot of fun with it! It got really nice when Danny Merz joined us, who illustrates our story through her photography. She's also an ace when it comes to social media and website design. 

Danny will continue to play a big role on our team after we open, she will be photographing births among other things, check out what great things she can do: https://geburtsreportage.de/

And if you've ever wondered where we got such great logos: the elegant NGH logo from the association Neues Geburtshaus für Hamburg was designed by Filine Fink and our beloved logo for the Haus für Geburt und Gesundheit is by Melanie Kollath. Melli also supported us with the website design and the flyer design, thank you very much!



The division into working groups was very effective, but also led to some conflicts, because the question of who reports what back to whom and when, and which decisions should be made in which constellation, was not always easy to clarify. As a group, we agreed to work as horizontally as possible, but this was difficult, as some were able to invest more time in the foundational work than others.

Our conclusion: when people who do not know each other beforehand start a birth center under pandemic conditions, in their non-existent "free time" without pay, it is not easy, but it is definitely enriching! By the way, we can highly recommend professional supervision sessions 🙂 .



In the last weeks our collaboration has changed once again. On the one hand, because the big building blocks of business plan and concept have been completed for now, and on the other hand, because of the foundation of our partnership company (PG). At the moment there are four of us midwives who will work in the birth center from the opening and therefore form a PG together. With the founding of the PG, we realized that now that things are becoming more concrete, parts of the founding work must take place in a smaller circle. For example, bank loans, financing options, accounting systems, quality management, negotiations with potential landlords, talks with potential midwife colleagues and much more. We "PGers" have now arrived in the hot phase, so to speak, and are spending more and more time working together, mostly still via Zoom.  

Of course, we are still in active exchange with the whole team that supports us in the name of our non-profit association, alone we would not make it! Thank you to all who are involved in this project with so much heart and soul, the many positive reactions to our project give us courage and strength and daily enhance our anticipation of the big day when we open our doors and can celebrate with all of you together! 




English (UK)