Updated: May 16
This blogpost is for Moms to be in Switzerland that are Swisspats (expats in the country).
I am currently pregnant as I type this, week 36 and counting and let me tell you, it has been a journey. One of self-discovery, research, lots of breathing and many days wondering how to get things done.
What I mention here will be useful for you as a Swisspat if you have had trouble finding out information after getting to know you are pregnant, if you are at later stages and are confused as to where you must find a midwife or what is covered in your basic insurance and overall useful for all moms to be in the sense that you might find out things you did not know yet. I have focused mainly in the Romandie area as it is where I live however the country works generally the same therefore you will at least be able to pick out helpful data whilst yiu enjoy the read.
Very early in time and just after having arrived in this lovely country, I realized that people are extremely self-sufficient and very independent. They are taught form early ages, as early as 4 years old, to walk to school alone therefore made me believe they become self-taught individuals that get used to navigating the world in their own ways.
Before we dive deep into all what I want to share, I would like to take this opportunity to give you a massive congratulations for your bundle of joy! However near or far you are in your journey I admire you already. Pregnancy stage is a path of self-discovery that as an expat you are probably navigating with not much help or assistance.
I shall be listing all topics with underlined titles so you can easily navigate through them, let’s get started!
GYNEACOLOGIST / MIDWIFE
Number one priority after you find out that you are pregnant is to find a gynecologist or midwife to carry out the checks for you. Do know that in Switzerland you can have your pregnancy followed up by a midwife only or a gynecologist, it is your choice and covered y insurance.
I found the PROFA foundation to be incredible in offering assistance and information from day one, they’re extremely helpful and very experienced.
Make sure you grab a good prenatal vitamin at your pharmacy from the start and some folic acid tablets even before your first visit.
Call your health insurance, ask about your basic and complimentary (if you have one), in order to see what specifics you are covered for, ask as many questions as you need and ensure you get the answers to the following:
- How many scans are covered;
- How many visits to the doctor are covered;
- Are your medicines covered in case you develop infections or else during pregnancy;
- Are they covering compression stockings by gynecologist prescription.
Once that has been clarified you are able to move forward with some more confidence. Whether you have chosen a gynecologist or a midwife to follow up your pregnancy you are now in great hands.
The following months you will be having an appointment or visit every 4 weeks. If you have a private or semi-private insurance, the gynecologist will follow up with you all the way until the end of your pregnancy. If you have a general insurance, you shall be transferred to the hospital of choice around week 36 for a continued follow up from their side.
This leads me to encourage you to check out your birthplace of choice whether a home birth assisted by a midwife, a birth house or a hospital. They all offer visits/tours and have people readily available to answer any question you might have.
All options are covered by insurance as far as my own research goes.
In order to find a midwife, you have several options depending on where you live, they work independently and are normally part of associations. You will also have the option for a translator or a midwife in your own language should you need.
You would want to find one that does the antenatal course for you as well as the follow up post-partum checks. The antenatal course is not mandatory however both things are covered by basic insurance (just double check your insurance policies).
There are also certain lactation consultations you can avail of with your midwife too that are covered by insurance right after birth.
- The midwifes will work on area or NPA
- Due to covid restrictions, the courses might be only for the moms, or online, or at home.
- PanMilar 0774102024 has an international group of midwifes and options for translators. https://www.panmilar.ch
- Sage- Femmes Vevey (have plenty that speak English) http://www.centre-sages-femmes.ch
( they also collaborate with Pan Milar )
- This is the website of the midwife I chose, Oilivia. https://www.midwife-lausanne.com/welcome/
Antenatal courses are conducted in hospitals, in midwife associations or at your own home and covered by general insurance. Make sure to check in advance and book their services accordingly, as you also have the coverage for a midwife to visit you after labor to your house, therefore you need them to be within your NPA.
If you are wanting to have a Doula assist you during labor, there are foundations and organizations that put you in contact with them and check for languages spoken.
I had a very good experience with this association in particular https://en.doula.ch
EXERCISE AND ACTIVITY
Movement and daily activity during your pregnancy is paramount both for you and the baby, yes, some days you will really not feel like it at all but the days you do, take advantage of it, and enjoy the benefits.
Through your insurance you can find specialized instructors in the fields of pre- and post-natal.
I am myself a trained Pilates and Yoga pre- and post-natal teacher in Lausanne and online since our Covid Pandemic. You can deduct a percentage of my fees through your insurance as I am registered with an association that will allow you to do so. https://www.activwellness.ch
Else I highly recommend the free classes conducted by Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud that you can find at https://moveyourbaby.ch
Or the classes offered throughout canton Vaud that you can find at http://www.profa.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/11797_UNISANTE_Brochure_Cours_sante_2020_web.pdf
If you are interested in conducting a Hypnobirthing course to prepare for labor in a more natural way, I suggest you check out this link http://www.supportingyourbirth.org/
ONLINE COURSES IN ENGLISH
Should you want to do online courses in English and know all about antenatal, birth preparation, feeding etc. I highly recommend courses being conducted online by NHS midwifes in the UK https://letstalkbirthandbaby.co.uk
USEFUL LINKS FOR PREGNANCY PREPARATION
For general preparation during pregnancy, I suggest these reads below
FREEBIES AND DISCOUNTS IN SWITZERLAND
A massive smile drew on my face the moment I knew about all the freebies and helps you get as a new mom in this country, it truly amazed me and made me feel so well taken care of and spoiled.
- You shall receive free rubbish bags from your canton by going to your commune with the baby’s birth certificate within the first month. In Vaud it is 300 bags, the amount you receive will be canton dependent.
- https://www.letsfamily.ch/fr/home Register and receive a newborn gift from them, they also have monthly giveaways and lots of family voucher discounts.
- Migros and Coop both have family accounts too, they shall also send you a free gift and they always have monthly coupons and free items at the supermarkets. Worth downloading their apps and keeping up to date with their newsletters
MIGROS (FAMIGROS) https://famigros.migros.ch/fr
COOP (HELLO FAMILY) https://www.hellofamily.ch/fr
- Cantonal and governmental helps for mums. Make sure you ask for them. You have an initial lump sum because of the birth and a monthly sum until your kid is age 16. During maternity leave you are also entitled up to 14 weeks of help. These however are not automatic, you must apply for them in order to receive them.
Now that all the fun stuff has been taken care of, there is a list of things you would want checked off:
DAY CARE AND SCHOOL SYSTEM
Should you need day care there are public and private options. All require a submission form, and some have a waitlist, therefore ensure you do check this at an early stage. For all things swiss kindergarten system I highly recommend you check out:
LivingSwitzerland Education Consulting
0041 78 911 2300
OSTEOPATHS AND PELVIC FLOOR SPECIALISTS
Your insurance covers so much during pregnancy, during that research I asked you to conduct they must have told you this would also be covered either partially or entirely as it is dependent on your insurance company and coverage.
You can avail of osteopathic treatment, acupuncture, massages pre-natal and pelvic floor courses post-natal.
I have great recommendations in Lausanne, should you need any, drop me an email and I shall share them with you.
Ask your midwife and gynecologist for suggestions, other moms and friends. There are always some that are opening up new and others that start accepting new patients. Investigate whether they are in line with your vision and way of living if holistic, diet specific etc. and start making calls once you are around 30 weeks in order to book an informative consultation.
Find your tribe, whether on Facebook groups, WhatsApp or fitness/yoga studios around your house. I found it extremely beneficial and reassuring to be surrounded by other moms to be in my same situation. We would share laughs and anecdotes as well as very useful tips and tricks.
YOU GOT THIS!!! It will all change and probably become overwhelming at first, but you can manage. The preparation will immensely help you at the beginning and then everything will slowly flow and become second nature.
I have links to a directory for the Swiss German side which was made by a fellow Yoga Teacher and has extremely useful information and contacts of many different specialists; numbers of great photographers both in Lausanne and Zug and also courses you can do online in case you are and fitness instructor willing to embark in the pre- and post-natal world.
You can send me an email anytime to email@example.com and I will be more than happy to send you extra information.
If you wish that I add anything on the post that you believe is missing, do feel free to let me know too.
Wishing you all the best and hoping you benefited and enjoyed from this read!
Image taken by a lake in canton Vaud, Switzerland.