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Old 11.08.2016, 17:14
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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 I might have outdated information, but I hope someone can link to any corrections I might need to do .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?

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:


  • 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:

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)

  • 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 11:02.
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