There are many different options for where and how you give birth in Switzerland. The healthcare system has a reputation for high levels of care for pregnant women. If you are pregnant, it is important to know what is available to expectant mothers and what to do when you go into labour.
What is covered by health insurance when giving birth?
All aspects of pregnancy in Switzerland are covered by health insurance. This includes full payment of your deduction by the health insurance company for all procedures after 12 weeks of pregnancy, as well as any consultations, including all fees for doctors, gynaecologists, hospitals, pre-natal care and specialists. Basic health insurance may mean you face restrictions on where you can give birth and who you can choose as your midwife or doctor, but you are still afforded the same level of care as with supplemental health insurance.
Does my unborn child need health insurance in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, the health of an unborn child is considered to be covered by the health insurance of the mother. However, this only extends to 12 days after the birth, at which point you will need to take our health insurance for your baby.
Can I choose where to give birth in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, a woman has the right to give birth in any location she chooses. Increasingly, Swiss women are choosing more personalised birth plans, with home births and birth houses becoming more popular. You are only restricted if your doctor or specialist recommends a hospital birth due to health reasons or a history of birth complications. Your costs are also only covered if the location you choose is listed on health insurance in your county (canton) of residence.
Can I choose how to give birth in Switzerland?
Swiss health insurance covers all methods used to deliver a baby. This includes necessary operations such as a caesarean section, to voluntary delivery methods such as water births. Your midwife will be able to recommend the best method of delivery for your desires and needs. However, if a medical professional deems your choices harmful to the wellbeing of yourself or your child, costs may not be covered.
One of the most important parts of pregnancy is putting together your own birth plan. Prenatal care in Switzerland includes extensive education classes, run by a midwife, which will help you make a decision as to where and how you want to give birth. There are now three accepted locations in which to give birth, each with its own character and benefits.
Hospital birth in Switzerland
The most common place to have a baby is in a hospital. Most hospitals in Switzerland have a maternity ward, staffed with highly-trained medical professionals who will be able to provide excellent levels of care. This is a recommended option due to the ease of access to pain relief and emergency services. If you have selected a specific midwife, your hospital of choice will be where they are practising.
Swiss birth houses
Swiss birth houses are a novel and popular way to give birth. These houses are specialised in delivering a “natural birth”. In this context, a “natural birth” is a birth that promotes natural birthing positions, continuous care by a midwife, and the mother and child staying together at all times. It is worth noting that pain relief is used less frequently in birth houses. Many mothers praise the intimate atmosphere of birth houses, which can be an excellent alternative if no complications are expected.
Giving birth at home in Switzerland
The final option covered by health insurance is giving birth at home. This allows mothers to have their baby in the comfort of familiar surroundings. With this method, a midwife will attend your place of residence and assist in delivering the baby in a predetermined space in your house or appartment. This method is not recommended if it is your first time giving birth. You will also be refused a home birth by your doctor if they believe a home birth to be a risk.
What to do when you have a baby
If you think you have gone into labour, you need to put your birth plan into action. For most people, this will involve calling your midwife or the hospital where you are having the baby and following their advice. They will most likely ask you some questions about your condition and decide whether you need to come in or can wait at home for a little longer. You will need to arrange transport to where you wish to give birth and contact your partner (if they are not with you) or another member of your family.
Key steps after giving birth in Switzerland
After you have given birth, there are many different things that you must do to make sure that your child is registered in Switzerland. These are:
- Registering the birth
- Receiving a birth certificate
- Registering for health insurance
- Accessing postnatal care