Cooking, shopping, washing, cleaning and taking care of children - all this can be exhausting during pregnancy, even under normal circumstances. If your pregnancy is then affected by an accident, illness or a complication such as premature labor, then everyday life threatens to collapse. If you have statutory health insurance or family insurance and no other person living in your household can continue to run the household, it is possible to apply for free home assistance under certain conditions. Depending on the situation, a home aide will support you for two or more hours a day with everything that comes up in everyday family life. If needed, it is best to contact your health insurance provider as early as possible. The staff there can tell you whether you are entitled to household assistance and where and how you can apply for this type of help.

Home assistance programmes are designed for three types of emergency situations. 1.) For problems with pregnancy. This is the case, for example, when a premature birth is imminent. 2.) It may also be that you need help because you had an accident or got a serious illness, which people who are not pregnant can also get. 3.) The third possibility is that you cannot work or your partner cannot work and therefore there is a risk that you will not be able to take care of your child or children properly. Whatever the cause, it's important to check with your health insurance provider as early as possible. Indeed, different legal rules apply to different situations. In certain cases, for example, accident insurance is responsible for the costs; in other situations nursing care insurance or the Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) must pay. Your health insurance company will tell you which office is the right one.

For example, you may be entitled to domestic assistance if your doctor has determined that you need to reduce your workload to protect yourself and your pregnancy from health problems. The same applies to the period after delivery. You may also be entitled to household assistance if you had a multiple birth. In exceptional cases, this option is also available after a still birth if you need support to recover from the physical and emotional strain. When applying for domestic assistance, it does not matter whether the birth took place at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital.

In order to apply for home assistance from your health insurance company, you need a special application form. You can request it from your health insurance company via phone. Some health insurance companies also make the form available online for download. In case you need home assistance because of pregnancy or childbirth, § 24h SGB V (Sozialgesetzbuch 5) applies. In addition, your doctor or midwife must certify that you need home assistance and give reasons for this. Third, most health insurance companies also want to see your maternity record (Mutterpass) when you submit the claim. There is no legal requirement as to how long you are entitled to domestic assistance. The duration depends on how long the doctor or midwife considers the home assistance necessary in your personal case. Often doctors or midwives are guided by the postnatal maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist). As a rule, your health insurance company will arrange and pay for home assistance for you. If you want to find your own home assistance, you must get prior approval from your health insurance company.

If you become ill during your pregnancy or are injured in an accident, § 38 SGB V applies. This is because the reason you can no longer run your household is not the pregnancy, but rather the illness or injury. In this case you also apply for household assistance from your health insurance company. You will receive this support if you are undergoing hospital treatment, rehabilitation, home care, preventive treatment or maternity rehabilitation. You are also entitled to household assistance in the event of an acute serious illness or if an illness acutely worsens. Here it depends on the physician's assessment. You get the home assistance from the health insurance. However, in this case you have to pay one tenth of the costs yourself. This is a minimum of €5 and a maximum of €10 per day. If you want to find your own home assistance, you must get prior approval from your health insurance company. As a rule, you are entitled to household assistance for four weeks. If there is a child under twelve or a child with a disability in your household, the entitlement is extended to 26 weeks.

If one parent is absent for health or other compelling reasons and the health insurance company rejects your application or you do not have health insurance at all, you can ask for assistance from the Youth Welfare Office at the local the Social Assistance Administration (Sozialbehörde). Youth welfare services then check whether there is a threat to the child's well-being and whether household support measures, such as household assistance, are appropriate. The goal is to protect the best interests of the child and support the family at risk due to the crisis. In this case, you can apply at the Social Assistance Administration in your place of residence or at the Youth Welfare Office. If your application is approved, the household assistance is free of charge for you.