Obviously the basics work the same as they do in the US. One of the major differences; however, is that the midwife is the one actually in charge of the birth - although they tried to make it clear that the mother is really the one calling the shots. Most normal deliveries take place with the midwife and an OB, who can take over if complications dictact that a C-section is necessary. What I also found reassuring is that they stressed to go into the birth with an open mind. I have been reading about making a "birth plan," but this seemed strange to me, since you can never be sure what will happen. I also didn't want declare ahead of time that I will go med-free and then have the conflict during labor of wanting meds, but not wanting to give in. I will take things how they come and adjust to my needs.
I will sign up for a preparation class which is lead by the midwives and lasts a few weeks. After you are home from the hospital, a midwife visits you on a regular basis to check that all is going well and give you some additional support. About 4-6 weeks after birth they provide a course for mothers to begin building up muscles. All of these "extras" are covered by insurance which is great!
This is the link to the hospital we picked, it's in German, but there are some pictures for those non-German speakers among you: