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Old 06.09.2011, 14:54
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Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

As the big day approaches, and now that I'm actually going to the hospital for checks and see the likelihood of being surrounded by non-English speakers, or those that speak just a little, I'm thinking it might be a good thing to have a little cheat sheet of some key things I might need to ask for or say during labor - a time that will not be conducive to reaching for the German-English dictionary!

I don't know if anyone already has something they used or maybe together we can come up with a list of things that will help all the future moms-to-be as well

So, if you have a key phrase in English (with translation if you know it!) that either you would suggest go on such a list or had to use yourself, or you can help translate anything that only gets listed in English, it would be very helpful to those of us who have neither the mom or dad with enough German skills to try to communicate in that kind of "fun" environement

Some of the ones I'm thinking of are:
1) The contractions are XX apart.
2) We are on our way to the hospital.
3) My water has broken.
4) Is something wrong?

etc.
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Old 06.09.2011, 15:11
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

I forgot German as soon as the labor started but remebering how to say that I felt like pushing (Ich will pressen) saved me from a c-section. The second time around, I said I wanted another try at pushing instead of the vaccuum, and it worked


Your ones in German:
1) Die Wehen sind jede X minuten.
2) Wir sind unterwegs nach Spital.
3) Ich habe einen Blasensprung gehabt.
4) Stimmt etwas nicht?
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Old 06.09.2011, 15:36
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

5). Push!!
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Old 06.09.2011, 17:48
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

I think to avoid any misunderstanding just use English- docs and midwives usually know enough or much more... Not a time when your "good" language skills come to the fore.
Or you may not follow their directions at a crucial moment...
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Old 06.09.2011, 18:53
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

Thanks for this thread. I'm due in a month and it's something I was thinking about last night.

I'm hoping the Mountain Man will be around at all times in case I need a translator but he has MS so can't rely on that particularly if it's a long labour.

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I think to avoid any misunderstanding just use English- docs and midwives usually know enough or much more...
Nice idea but out here I know only 2 of the possible 4 midwives speak any English..... as most of the other locals can converse in Swiss German or Rumantsch or Italian or all three....
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Old 06.09.2011, 21:10
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

I was worried about this too - that's why I insisted that hubby was there, as a translator (wasn't much use for anything else to be honest!). I was certain I would forget all my German the minute I was in pain. I don't remember much, but I do remember saying to the midwife "Sie lügen" quite a lot Mind you, the daft woman kept telling me that he was nearly here and wouldn't be much longer...after an hour or so, I didn't believe her! So, I must have still understood some German.

Anyway, I think the midwives can tell an awful lot from how you behave and how much you scream!

Have you thought about writing down a birth plan, a couple of copies in German and English? Obviously, you can't expect it to go to plan as such, but if there's something you feel really strongly about. For example, I was adamant that I wasn't going to have an epidural. My husband's only real instruction was to make sure that they didn't give me one under any circumstances. If he hadn't have been there, I would have written it down and given it to the midwives when I arrived.
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Old 06.09.2011, 22:39
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

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I think to avoid any misunderstanding just use English- docs and midwives usually know enough or much more... Not a time when your "good" language skills come to the fore.
Or you may not follow their directions at a crucial moment...
The challenge, and the reason for the thread, is that midwives mostly do NOT know english. Even doctors are a bit hit and miss. I've now gone in for 2 hospital tours, and 2 checks at the hospital I am going to, and each time it is a long process to ask some of the simplest questions as you have to keep trying to rephrase the question in order for them to understand - and that is when you have time to set up in advance that you meet with one of the "english speaking midwives". It's a 50/50 chance that your midwife when you check in will be able to speak any so I am just trying to be somewhat prepared with being able to point at a piece of paper rather than trying frantically to pantomime in between contractions!
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Old 06.09.2011, 22:42
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

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I was worried about this too - that's why I insisted that hubby was there, as a translator (wasn't much use for anything else to be honest!). I was certain I would forget all my German the minute I was in pain. I don't remember much, but I do remember saying to the midwife "Sie lügen" quite a lot Mind you, the daft woman kept telling me that he was nearly here and wouldn't be much longer...after an hour or so, I didn't believe her! So, I must have still understood some German.

Anyway, I think the midwives can tell an awful lot from how you behave and how much you scream!

Have you thought about writing down a birth plan, a couple of copies in German and English? Obviously, you can't expect it to go to plan as such, but if there's something you feel really strongly about. For example, I was adamant that I wasn't going to have an epidural. My husband's only real instruction was to make sure that they didn't give me one under any circumstances. If he hadn't have been there, I would have written it down and given it to the midwives when I arrived.
Birth plan is done but it's pretty basic and in my file at the hospital - ironically the exact opposite as my hubby's only job is to make sure they give me an epidural if I ask for it Neither of us speak German so just trying to have something on hand with the basics - but never having gone through this before, not 100% sure what the basics might be...
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Old 06.09.2011, 22:46
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

My midwife spoke the some of the best English of any Swiss person I have yet encountered. Immaculate. So I thought I was on safe ground ... but even she, when it came to the actual moments when the baby was crowning then coming out, slipped into Swiss German. Luckily, things were all quite obvious by then (hurts like hell, baby whooshing out .. you get the picture) that it did not seem to matter. So even if you don't use the phrases yourself, having it as passive vocabulary is a brilliant idea.
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Old 06.09.2011, 23:38
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

How do we say in German "You idiot! Thats all your bloody fault!"? No wait. Not needed. Your husband speaks English :P
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Old 06.09.2011, 23:46
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

When the time comes, you won't know who's at the hospital unless you have a scheduled C-section.

A birth plan is a good idea & double-check it right before you're due so everyone understands that they need to check your file.

Don't know about German, but I'm having my baby on the French side & it will be easier for me to communicate what I want than to understand everyone talking to me.

So.....my mid-wife gave me a basic list of French vocabulary to understand. Words like push, rest, breathe, stronger, again, etc in French.
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Old 07.09.2011, 00:00
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

The other half offered the following contributions for the benefit of others in impending need:
  • Es tut so weh (It hurts so much)
  • Ich brauche Schmerzmittel (I need painkillers)
and also made the observation that primal screams translate pretty much unchanged into both High and Swiss German. I concur.
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Old 07.09.2011, 00:05
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Re: Cheat sheet for during labor - key phrases in german

I'm due to have a baby next month in Uster Spital, and it is/was such a fear of mine to give birth while not being able to properly communicate with the doctors, midwife, etc. I might as well be abducted by aliens.

Thankfully, though, everyone in the Frauenklinik at Uster Spital seems to speak decent English. Besides, from all that pain, I'll probably forget my own language and start speaking in tongue anyways.

Wishing all of you mothers-to-be a good birth experience!
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