Five Reasons Switzerland is a Great Place to Have a Baby
The Frau has now been Die Mom for over seven months. Naturally, she was incredibly nervous about giving birth in a country where she had to learn the German equivalents for painkiller, cervical dilation, and please no episiotomy. But somehow, everything went smoothly. Somehow, the Frau survived. Somehow, Switzerland delivered by helping the Frau do the same.
You can hike around Lake Lungern with a stroller.
Needless to say, the rumors are true. Switzerland is a great place to have a baby. Here’s why:
Swiss midwives don’t rush you. Most encourage natural birth. But before you run back to the United States and demand a C-section, keep this in mind: a place that encourages natural birth (whether you do it or not) is actually a good thing because it means your labor is cared for with patience, not by people who just want you to hurry so they can go to lunch. Also, after a normal birth, you can stay in a Swiss hospital for up to five days as you recover and learn to care for your baby. You can even leave your baby at the hospital and go out to dinner, which the Frau highly recommends since after you leave the hospital with your new baby, dinner will probably become something you dream about, rather than eat.
You can have a midwife visit you at home after you return from the hospital. She comes to your house and makes sure you know what you’re doing (because if you’re like the Frau you won’t!). This is all also covered by Swiss insurance, which becomes even more of a blessing if you read books like Baby Catcher, and realize how U.S. insurers have basically made independent midwifery extinct in the United States. Be more prepared than the Frau, and choose your midwife before you give birth.
Four: Free Money.
Yes. You are hearing right. Beginning the month your child is born (so aim for the 30th!) you receive a minimum child benefit allowance of CHF 200 ($212) a month, which is added to your paycheck. Unfortunately the Frau lives in Aargau, where they give you the bare minimum, but still, it helps make up for the fact that diapers and three times as expensive in Switzerland than they are in Germany. Even more amazing? You get your CHF 200 every month until your child turns 16. After your child turns 16, you are entitled to an education allowance of CHF 250 a month until your child is 25. If you’re luckier than the Frau, you also live in a canton that will give you a bonus of CHF 1,000, just for giving birth.
Five: Stroller-accessible Hiking Trails
You may not be able to get to your fourth-floor apartment without a struggle, but the woods? No problem. You’ll be sure to find plenty of stroller-accessible hikes in Switzerland. A few great Frau-tested hikes with strollers include the path around Lake Lungern, the wine trail near Maienfeld, and the wonderful walks included on this blog. Now if only the people riding the SBB/CFF/SSF without kids wouldn’t take up all the spots in the family zone, things would be perfect.
Have you had a baby in Switzerland? What has been good (or bad) about it for you?