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Old 11.08.2016, 16:14
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I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

First of, congratulations!

I had my baby a few months ago, and after a long ride of fights with bureaucracy and difficulties of being a clueless foreigner in Switzerland, I decided to compile some information for expectant mothers and those planning a pregnancy. I hope this helps to calm down some scaredy rabbits (like me), or at least point you girls (or partners) in the right direction.

Disclaimer: This is a work in progress. It was started because a colleague asked me for information and was so overwhelmed with everything I thought it would be nice to put everything in one place. I'll probably edit this a few times. I might have outdated information, but I hope someone can link to any corrections I might need to do .

This will initially focus on “natural” occurring pregnancies because that is the experience I had. Perhaps with the development of this thread we can gather some good information about other options, from in vitro to adoption.

Please feel free to post any extra suggestions!
  • Engineering phase


Well, you know, there are the bees and the flowers and somehow they get together to create a baby, or something.

Regular gynaecological visits before pregnancy fall under the regular health insurance. Some insurance companies allow an annual or bi-annual (that’s once every 2 years ) visit for free. This means that, apart from the mandatory 10% you have to pay, how much you have to pay for the visits depends on your private insurance and deduction you took.

You can read here about what you should expect from a visit to the doctor.

Basic insurance is mandatory*. Don’t forget to get one once you move to Switzerland. The good news are: if you forget or “forget” or are incapable of getting one on the first day you took residence in Switzerland, you can backdate the insurance (you still have to pay the fees, of course…)

Freedom of choice of gynaecologist depends on insurance. Inform yourself before hand.
  • I was pregnant before I moved to Switzerland!

You still have to get the basic insurance*, and all duties and benefits from someone who got knocked up already in Swiss territory will apply to you. You can even apply for supplementary insurance for extra juicy benefits (and costs).

(* those with special cases that can keep their foreign insurance need to fetch the information themselves, I am not versed in that information. Feel free to share it with us )
  • Do they have the right to ask if I intend to get pregnant in the near future/ am pregnant during job interviews?

Pregnancy is a private thing, therefore your possible future boss has no right to ask anything about it. Well, he can ask (it is not forbidden) but you do not need to answer. Exceptions occur in jobs that demand extreme physical efforts.

There is in the law no precise date of when you must inform your bosses that you are pregnant. It’s up to you to decide when (perhaps sometime before the contractions start is a good idea…).
  • I’m late. Where can I get a pregnancy test?

Pregnancy tests can be bought in any pharmacy. Ovulation tests can also be bought in pharmacies. Folic acid tablets can be bought over the counter (even in supermarkets), but it might a good idea to get them in your gynaecologist, which can also keep an eye on any extra needed supplements.
  • Which costs must be taken by the insurance?

Quote:
01. What check-ups can be performed during pregnancy and after childbirth?
For a normal pregnancy, seven antenatal check-ups will be reimbursed. The first visit includes a medical history, general clinical and gynecological examinations and advice, and screening for varicose veins and leg edema; in addition, laboratory tests are ordered as required according to the Analyses List. Subsequent visits include monitoring of bodyweight, blood pressure and fundal height, urinalysis and auscultation of fetal heart tones; in addition, laboratory tests are ordered as required, according to the Analyses List.
For a high-risk pregnancy, these examinations may be repeated if necessary. Cardiotocography (electronic fetal monitoring) is also covered in the case of a high-risk pregnancy.
A postpartum check-up can be performed 6 to 10 weeks after delivery, including further history, clinical and gynecological examinations and advice.
Official Source

I’m known for voicing what could be improved in Switzerland. In my business, believe me, a lot could be improved. But one thing I give in: being pregnant in Switzerland can be pretty good!

Almost everything after the 13th week of pregnancy is covered by the health insurance. You don’t need to pay the 10% deductible. If you suffer an illness between the 13th week and the birth (even if not pregnancy related) it will also be covered.

Useful links:

https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...275/index.html

https://www.ch.ch/en/pregnancy-health-insurance-covers/
  • Something sad

Natural occurring abortions are considered “sickness” in Switzerland, therefore costs related to it will fall under your regular insurance deduction. If the pregnancy lasted at least 23 weeks, however, it is considered a stillbirth and you will have the right to benefits, including maternity leave.
  • Which documents do I need to prepare?

You will need to get a blood type card to carry with you and present in the hospital /birth house when you start labour. This is usually prepared during one of your visits to the gynaecologist. Keep it in your wallet.

For the registration of the child, it depends on the canton/city and your nationality/nationality of the father and whether or not you are married. As possibly everything in Switzerland...

The best is to contact the city chamber of the place you are expecting to give birth (not the city you live in) and ask. Be sure to mention your civil state and nationality.

My personal example:

Quote:
I got my child registered in a city in Canton Zürich, son of 2 married citizens of EU countries. I needed the following:

- Proof of residence (got it in the city chamber of the place I live in)
- A copy of the residence permit of both parents
- Proof of Marriage. I got it from my Consulate. Please be aware that though some places might accept something in English, they might also demand it in one of the official languages – German/French/Italian. Therefore, those in the EU, should ask for the International Marriage Certificate which will be accepted without any trouble.
- Birth Certificate of both parents. As with marriage certificate, it’s good to get it in the International form, or with a translation made by a recognized translator
As pointed out by docneti, people from outside the EU might need to have an apostille on their documents to validate them. Again, please call and confirm what papers are needed for your individual case.

IMPORTANT: NO DOCUMENT MAY BE OLDER THAN 6 MONTHS. This can create some trouble with people in possession of a birth certificate without a date. Again, call the city chamber of the place you are thinking of giving birth in and ask – they are usually quite nice.

The good news are – you can prepare all the documentation before the child is born and deliver it already in the city chamber. This way is one less thing you need to think about once the little sprout is out and you can’t get no sleep.

All you need to do afterwards is getting the certificate of birth of your child filled up in the hospital/birth house and they will send it to the city chamber. You’ll get the bill and the documents at home.

Registration of the child in your own country can be done in the Embassy/Consulate. Be aware that some Embassies demand you to book an appointment before hand, and you’ll have to travel a long time to get there in person.
  • Where must I give birth?

You can deliver in a hospital, birth home or even at home. Each has its benefits and handicaps. Inform your gynaecologist of your choice.

Both hospitals and birth houses have days in which you can learn about the services they offer. Check the options in your area and consult their internet site/ call to ask more about them.

Please be aware some insurance companies will not allow you to program a birth in a hospital of your choice, and instead provide you with a list of available choices.

Doulas exist in Switzerland.

You will need to find a midwife. This midwife will not preform the birth (unless you wish to birth at home). By law, however, you have the right to be followed by a midwife after the birth. This is a very useful tool and you should use it! The midwives are professionals who not only check your physical wellbeing – checking how your healing is going on – they will also check on the baby, and look for any sign of mental distress, including signs of post partum depression; they also help relieve the schedule of the gynecologists, who will want to check you only about 6 weeks after birth. Do not undervalue this gift – 10 visits are covered 100% by the health insurance.

You can find one in their official site. Their list even specifies if they speak any foreign languages.

  • Get baby insurance for the baby before the birth!

Basic insurance for your baby is mandatory. However, if you get the insurance for your child after birth, insurances may refuse to give you supplementary insurance. This can become a hassle if your child is born with a health problem, or gets one during birth, that demands special care.

If you get it before the birth, the health insurance has no way out.

Contact Jenny for help .

Certain birth defects and resulting treatments will be immediately be covered by the Invalid Insurance, and not your private insurance.
  • Can I chose between natural birth and caesarean?

Yes. You can chose a caesarean, and it will be covered by the insurance. You also have different choices for pain relief – depending on where you give birth – from epidurals to Nitrous oxide, passing by more “alternative” methods like acupuncture and homeopathy. You can also chose to go freestyle, and I truly admire you, because after 3 days of false labour, I held for exactly 5 minutes before screaming “EPIDURAL” in the hospital.
  • Hospital stay

After a natural birth, you usually stay 3 days in the hospital. After a caesarean 5 days. You may stay longer by medical advice, which will be covered by the insurance, or you may choose to leave earlier. In the hospital you will get diapers and baby clothes – so if you didn’t prepare a “maternity bag” there is no need to panic.
  • After the birth

You have the right to 10 midwife visits during the first 56 days after birth, covered by your insurance. You also have the right to lactation help (in case someone forgot to mention this to you – breastfeeding can be extremely difficult)

http://www.hebamme.ch/de/elt/heb/kosten.cfm
  • Maternity Leave

Maternity leave lasts 98 days (14 weeks), from the moment your child pops out, and by law you will receive 80% of your salary.

To receive the daily allowance, employees must be insured under AHV for the nine months prior to the birth and must have worked for at least five months during pregnancy.

If you need to stay home due to complications before the birth, this time is not deducted from your maternity leave.

Theoretically, unless medical problems occur, you are supposed to work till the day the baby comes out. If you feel that you can no longer work, talk to your gynaecologist, who might give you a doctor’s note for time off.

You are protected during pregnancy and maternity leave – you may not be fired during this time. Once you come back from work, they may fire you, but the contractual termination period applies.
  • Lactation help

Breastfeeding is hard. Very hard. You can get help from your midwife, a lactation specialist (which you can get in the hospital), your gynaecologist, or the La Leche League.

There is also an English speaking Facebook Group.

(To be continued...)
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Last edited by Helm; 08.03.2017 at 10:02.
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  #2  
Old 11.08.2016, 17:43
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

This also on a woman's rights while employed.

https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/ho...hmerinnen.html

And more on pregnancy and health insurance here:

http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/krank...x.html?lang=en
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Old 17.08.2016, 22:30
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Wow thanks so much for writing this! Congrats on the baby! Been thinking of having another but only have my experience from Australia to go by. I'm going to need a caesarean next time so I'm relieved to hear that its covered. I guess I'll still check in with my insurance to know what some of the costs are!
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Old 18.08.2016, 07:11
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

There are also some other threads on EF about genetic prenatal testing. Just wanna say that, as of July 2015 health insurance covers the non-invasive blood test.
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Old 20.09.2016, 14:40
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Thanks so much for the fantastic advice. Very helpful for the newly expecting.
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Old 20.09.2016, 15:53
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Great thread. One comment on the job interview question: You do not only have the right to not answer it - it is legal to lie when illegal questions are asked. So if you are asked "do you plan to have kids?" is it perfectly fine to say "No, never!" and get pregnant a few months later... same is true for other illegal questions for example on not work relevant health conditions.
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Old 20.09.2016, 16:13
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Short info after a heated exchange with my insurance today:

Everything related to pregnancy will only be reimbursed till 8 weeks after giving birth. If you have health problems due to the birth that extend that period, you will no longer be reimbursed automatically, but it will be deducted from your franchise.

Same applies to things like blood exams, breast pumps and the like, even if ordered by the doctor - they will cover their part (about 2chf per day on the pump case), but after the 8th week it will be deducted from the franchise instead of being paid out.
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Old 20.09.2016, 17:09
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Short info after a heated exchange with my insurance today:

Everything related to pregnancy will only be reimbursed till 8 weeks after giving birth. If you have health problems due to the birth that extend that period, you will no longer be reimbursed automatically, but it will be deducted from your franchise.

Same applies to things like blood exams, breast pumps and the like, even if ordered by the doctor - they will cover their part (about 2chf per day on the pump case), but after the 8th week it will be deducted from the franchise instead of being paid out.
It says so in the first line under "NB" here

And here in comparis:

"The amendment to the law, which was decreed by the Federal Council, entered into force on 1 March 2014. It stipulates that women who fall ill during or after pregnancy (e.g. in case of complications) are no longer liable to any out-of-pocket payments starting from the 13th week of pregnancy until 8 weeks after birth. This encompasses, for example, hospitalisation to avoid premature birth, treatment of gestational diabetes and infections or psychotherapy due to post-natal depression."

(bolding by me)


And here it is mentioned under point 5.
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Old 20.09.2016, 17:21
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Short info after a heated exchange with my insurance today:

Everything related to pregnancy will only be reimbursed till 8 weeks after giving birth. If you have health problems due to the birth that extend that period, you will no longer be reimbursed automatically, but it will be deducted from your franchise.

Same applies to things like blood exams, breast pumps and the like, even if ordered by the doctor - they will cover their part (about 2chf per day on the pump case), but after the 8th week it will be deducted from the franchise instead of being paid out.
Helsana covered the rent for my breast pump even after the 8th week! Actually, they covered it until baby was 16 weeks old (2016). My franchise is 2500CHF, by the way. I probably got lucky...?
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Old 03.10.2016, 11:05
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Are there different levels of cover offered through health insurance that determine what you are covered for in hospital?
i.e. In Australia, if you pay more on insurance, you can be eligible for a private room with a double bed so your partner can stay - is this the same in switzerland?
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Old 03.10.2016, 11:13
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Are there different levels of cover offered through health insurance that determine what you are covered for in hospital?
i.e. In Australia, if you pay more on insurance, you can be eligible for a private room with a double bed so your partner can stay - is this the same in switzerland?
You can get supplmental insurance for things like a semi or private room, but I doubt your partner would be able to stay with you. I haven't heard of that being possible here.
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Old 03.10.2016, 11:19
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Are there different levels of cover offered through health insurance that determine what you are covered for in hospital?
i.e. In Australia, if you pay more on insurance, you can be eligible for a private room with a double bed so your partner can stay - is this the same in switzerland?
You can have supplemental insurance that covers private or semi-private rooms. Your partner will have to pay for the stay, however, as his share is not covered (at least in my personal case. perhaps other insurances have more tasty options?).

On my hospital bill, it was very clearly marked what costs were related to me and those for "my guest".

EDIT: Perhaps I misunderstood the question: YES, your partner can stay with you in private rooms IF that option is available in the hospital of your choice. The hospital I gave birth in had a limited number of beds in the gynecological center, so I had to "reserve" a "family room" in advance (it's not a real reservation because you never know when the kid is popping, but I had to warn them that was my choice, so they would prepare everything as soon as I gave them green light).

The costs for your guest are another story. See the answer before the edit
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Last edited by Helm; 03.10.2016 at 11:47. Reason: clarification
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Old 03.10.2016, 11:47
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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You can have supplemental insurance that covers private or semi-private rooms. Your partner will have to pay for the stay, however, as his share is not covered (at least in my personal case. perhaps other insurances have more tasty options?).

On my hospital bill, it was very clearly marked what costs were related to me and those for "my guest".

EDIT: Perhaps I misunderstood the question: YES, your partner can stay with you in private rooms IF that option is available in the hospital of your choice. The hospital I gave birth in had a limited number of beds in the gynecological center, so I had to "reserve" a room in advance (it's not a real reservation because you never know when the kid is popping, but I had to warn them that was my choice, so they would prepare everything as soon as I gave them green light).

The costs for your guest are another story. See the answer before the edit
Great! Thanks for the info. Just what i needed to know! I'm not pregnant, but looking to be in the near future - this is a helpful thread, as know nothing about how the swiss health system works!!
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Old 03.10.2016, 12:09
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Great! Thanks for the info. Just what i needed to know! I'm not pregnant, but looking to be in the near future - this is a helpful thread, as know nothing about how the swiss health system works!!

You can do whatever you want, it's just a question of paying for it !

Normally "public" rooms are no more than 3-4 people and it's quite nice i think to maybe have people to talk to who are in the same position and chat.

Saying this, it can become a bit overwhelming as their is usually a constant stream of visitors oh'ing and ah'ing during visiting hours.
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Old 03.10.2016, 12:17
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Normally "public" rooms are no more than 3-4 people and it's quite nice i think to maybe have people to talk to who are in the same position and chat.
Heavens, no. Last thing I wanted was a) to chat b) having spectators while the doctors were checking my hoo-haa c) having 3 other babies crying during the night. Yes, babies share the room with their mothers. Unless the babies need to go to the ICU, babies are supposed to stay with their mothers from moment 0.

Perhaps I am too antisocial
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Old 03.10.2016, 13:16
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

I quite agree - being in a hospital is bad enough for me, and I am the fussiest sleeper. I would want it to be as close to being at home as possible. For me, it would be worth the money to have a private room!

I can see some mothers might like to be around others to chat though. :-)
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Old 03.10.2016, 13:55
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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There are also some other threads on EF about genetic prenatal testing. Just wanna say that, as of July 2015 health insurance covers the non-invasive blood test.
*Only if the pre-tests put the baby at risk for chromosomal abnormalities, otherwise it's out-of-pocket on standard insurance.
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Old 03.10.2016, 14:02
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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Heavens, no. Last thing I wanted was a) to chat b) having spectators while the doctors were checking my hoo-haa c) having 3 other babies crying during the night. Yes, babies share the room with their mothers. Unless the babies need to go to the ICU, babies are supposed to stay with their mothers from moment 0.

Perhaps I am too antisocial
We're all antisocial then. What you wrote makes perfect sense to me.
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Old 03.10.2016, 14:16
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

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*Only if the pre-tests put the baby at risk for chromosomal abnormalities, otherwise it's out-of-pocket on standard insurance.
Yes this. I had the test in February this year and we had to pay the full amount ourselves. We submitted to the insurer anyway just to see if they would possibly pay some of it, but no, it wasn't covered at all.
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Old 24.12.2016, 00:30
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Re: I am pregnant – What to expect when expecting in Switzerland

Shit healthcare. If you need real medicine get prepared to be shoved around and if your doctor doesn't feel lazy that day, they will fill out the stack of paperwork required to get it. If not you will rot in a corner.
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