Friday, September 07, 2007


I am feeling... discouraged. Overwhelmed. Confused.

I'm trying to ask questions and be informed, and it's only leading to more questions, and more confusion. I asked my OB at my last appointment where I should plan to give birth, assuming she might be tied to a particular hospital. She said it depends on us, and our insurance. There is a public hospital in Geneva that we could use, or if insurance covers it, we could choose one of the private hospitals in town.

Ok, I thought. So I'll just call our insurance and ask them what they cover. They've been pretty straight-forward with me before when I've called with questions. So I called, and the lady on the phone tells me that they will cover the "semi-private rate" with a 90% reimbursement, with for anything above that it's up to us. What does that even mean, "semi-private?" I thought that referred to a type of room within a hospital, not the hospital coverage itself. So I guess I now need to figure out what this semi-private rate is for Geneva.

I then went through my Know-It-All Passport book and found lots of good leads for parenting classes, a website for the public maternity clinic, and info on some places that offer prenatal yoga and swim lessons in indoor, heated pools. Awesome, I thought. Except almost every website I've looked at is all in French, which I can only decipher parts of. The book claims that many of these places offer services in English, so I guess I need to just call or stop by to check them out.

I'm thinking of hiring a doula for the birth. It would be nice to have the support and knowledge they offer, and also to have someone there that is fluent in both English and French in case not all the hospital staff is. I want my child's birth to be, as much as possible, a calm experience... not with the added stress of not being able to understand what the nurse is trying to tell me. Of course, I first need to figure out how much one would cost...


  1. CDNSarah ( AM

    Hi Marcy, I don't have kids yet but have a close group of friends who mostly have kids or are currently pregnant. Public rooms are in all public hospitals in CH, meaning up to 4 beds per room. Semi-private is up to 2 beds and are private clinics. Private, 1 bed per room are also in private clinics. Your basic health insurance covers the public hospitals. Semi-private and private are insurance add-ons. Some ob/gyns are only available in private clinics so you need to have at least a semi-private designation. If you have semi-private coverage, you're covered for a room of up to 2 beds (so you and one other lady) in a private clinic/hospital. Should you want private coverage, the difference will come out of your pocket. However, should you go into labor and you've opted for a private clinic/hospital, and there is a problem with the birth you're automatically brought to the public hospital as this is where the neo-natal department is. Have a chat with your insurance provider again or someone who has given birth in Geneva. I'd love to help if you need it!

  2. CDNSarah7:51 AM

    found this website on doula's in the geneva area.

  3. Thank you! Unfortunately our insurance provider is an American company, so I'm not too hopefuly about getting good answers from them as to how things are done here specifically. I guess I need to find myself some local mommies to chat with...

  4. Here is the English-Speaking Expat group for all of Switzerland. It includes many people living in Geneva.

    Post your questions here, and I guarantee you will quickly find an English-speaking Mommies Group that will help you with all your current questions and provide information for things you didn't even know to ask yet!

  5. Hang in there. Our insurance is through our American expat package as well and it took a lot of phone calls to both the insurance co and various docs in the UK to get a straight answer (we couldn't figure out what the difference was between going through the NHS or using our private insurance). However, if you are eligible for private insurance (and it doesn't cost you much extra), I would strongly recommend going for it! In the UK, there is actually a pretty big difference (though the standard of care of technically the same).

  6. PS: We had the same thing as well--where our doc gave us the choice of delivering between a private hospital, a private wing of a public (NHS) hospital, or another all-NHS hospital. We just talked to a lot of different people and finally asked our doc what he suggested. When he said, "Well, my two children were born here..." (at the private wing of the NHS hospital), we were sold.

  7. A doula is a great idea especially with your language situation. I wish I'd had a midwife along but at least my mom was there to help some. The hospital experience was not at all what I'd hoped for.

  8. everyone already gave you a got of great info. if the private thing doesnt work out i would also encourage you to look into the possibility of giving birth in France or in one of the neighboring communes in the French speaking part of Switzerland. I don't mean to be alarmist but there have been a series of articles recently in the Tribune de Geneve about the state of the maternity services at the Geneva public hospital and they are somewhat un-encouraging.

    now, one should take this with a grain of salt as even the tribune likes to be alarmist, but they were talking about there being always 4 beds per room, and stories of women being left in the middle of having stitches put in after birth because the dr was needed elsewhere. i dont think the issue is one of level of care, as far as the neo-natal department they are top in the city, as sarah said, but they are simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, there is a large expansion that they are in the middle of.

    in contrast ive heard really good things from a friend who gave birth near Nyon recently, as well as good things about the French hospitals.

    good luck!!



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