Giving birth in Switzerland – here’s all you need to know

Giving Birth in Switzerland

It is 40 weeks later and you have come a long way since first witnessing these two stripes appearing on your pregnancy test.

You are full of excitement and anxiety - and all the feelings in between. While writing this post, I am almost 40 weeks pregnant. There were times when I could not imagine giving birth. It terrified me and I had sleepless nights. It will be my second child but the first natural birth. (I had a c-section last time because of breech presentation.)

So, it does kind of feel like the first birth... My family and I are currently waiting until the baby is ready to finally meet us. I now have the feeling that I am more than ready to go the scary but also beautiful step of giving birth.

Where to give birth?

This decision is up to you. It is a very personal decision and no woman should judge another woman for their decision. I would like to present you the options you have in Switzerland without listing any pros and cons. There are plenty of online forums on this matter, and many do not hesitate to tell you in long entries about their experiences.

Giving birth at a hospital in Switzerland (a.k.a. "the regular way")

You are free to choose any public hospital you would like, exclusive of private hospitals. For obvious reasons, it will make sense to choose a hospital near your home. You might also want to consider the fact that some hospitals have their own neonatology ward for premature infants while others do not.

As I have mentioned before, there is kind of a rat-race among the hospitals. Birth is a good deal for them, so they are interested in yours, too.

Nonetheless, try to attend those "get-to-know-us" events offered by the various hospitals. This is where they will introduce their birthing services - often accompanied by free sandwiches and beverages. It is a good way to get an initial feel for a hospital and see a labor room from the inside. (It is kind of scary the first time you visit one!)

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Meeting fellow soon-to-be-parents is a nice side benefit of these events. On one such occasion, I ran into an old childhood friend that I had not seen in years. We are back in touch and I had the chance to meet his wife.

Such events are also a good opportunity to ask all the questions you might have: is it OK to bring your dog into the labor room? Is there free WiFi available? And is it allowed to order pizza from a delivery service while in labor? Don’t laugh! These are real questions that were asked during the events we have been a part of...

Giving Birth in Switzerland
 

Doing a home birth in Switzerland (the adventurous way)

There really is not much I can tell you about this option, as I am not experienced with home birth and do not know anyone who has done one. Personally, I never had the impression that I have advantages to giving birth at home. I would probably be more stressed as opposed to relaxed... But that’s just me.

I liked that I had lots of support at the hospital whenever I had a question or needed help. I enjoyed being able to choose from different meals - it sometimes felt a bit like a hotel stay. At night, I even gave the little one to the midwife for a couple of hours so I could actually catch up on some sleep. I would not have been able to do so at home.

For other women, it might be the perfect way to give birth in a familiar environment, maybe even joined and supported by loved family members. Please leave a comment if you have experience giving birth at home in Switzerland!

More information (German only)

 

Giving birth in a birthing center in Switzerland (Geburtshaus)

At the beginning of my second pregnancy I was looking into giving birth at a birthing center, but I had to ditch it shortly after. The reason: they do not classify you as the ideal candidate if you have had a c-section in the past (for security reasons, which I understand).

GHZHO Geburtshaus Zürcher Oberland(Photograph copyright Geburtshaus Zürcher Oberland)

From what I have heard, the environment is not as "cold" or "sterile" as in a hospital. The midwives have lots of experience with births and also with alternative medicine. (Note: you will not be able to get medical pain relief like PDA, epidural anaesthesia, there. If you or your baby are not well during labor, you will be transferred to the nearest hospital.)

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More information about Delphys in Zürich or Geburtshaus Zürcher Oberland in Bäretswil.

 

What to know about birth insurance coverage in Switzerland

The nice thing (besides many other reasons!) to have a baby in Switzerland is that your basic insurance will cover all the costs for the birth. There is no deductible or retention fee, even. It does not make a difference if you choose a hospital, a home birth or a birthing center. Important: get in touch with your health insurer to check out if your preferred birth place is on their list for your home canton.

Your health insurance will also cover the cost of your baby's stay. If your baby needs hospital treatment due to illness, this costs will be covered by the baby's own insurance and you will have to pay the retention fee. Here's a helpful resource that explains the coverage.

Now, I wish you all the best for your birth experience and a wonderful time with your baby! Reach out if you have any questions!

Giving Birth in Switzerland(Photographs courtesy Unsplash and stocksnap.io)

Read my Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy in Switzerland

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Melanie

A passionate globetrotter who likes to return to Switzerland after her adventures abroad. Melanie loves diving and the outdoors and is a typical Gemini: Communicative, sociable and multi-faced (which explains her favorite animal, the chameleon!).
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