April 19, 2015

International Birth Story – Switzerland

Welcome back to the International Birth Stories series.  Last week’s post (Japan) by Melissa was so beautiful, wasn’t it?  If you’re just joining us, make sure you check out the other testimonies in the seriesEngland, Djibouti, Northern Ireland, Brazil. This week we have Ashley, with a birth story from Switzerland.

International Birth Stories thebestofbaby.com

Ashley gave birth in a county/public hospital.

International Birth Story thebestofbaby.com

Intro:  What brought you to Switzerland?

I’m married to an Austrian and after living in California for 8 years, we decided to make the move to Europe to be closer to his family. Switzerland, a German speaking country and neighbor to Austria, was the best option with my husband’s company. I found out I was pregnant with baby number 3 just weeks before we were set to move.

1) What surprised you about prenatal care in Switzerland?

Well, for starters, no one spoke English at my OBGYN practice. I lived very near the hospital and went to the closest doctor to my home. Everything was very top notch within the facilities. At every appointment, which was about every three to four weeks, I had a urine and blood {iron} test completed in office. There was an ultrasound done at each appointment, as well. The one thing that was quite different from my two previous births in California was that my doctor wouldn’t give me a vaginal exam near my due date. I kept asking if he would see if I was dilated or effaced, but he didn’t want to disrupt anything. He also wouldn’t schedule me for an induction even though I went past my due date. I was okay with this, but still was surprised that he wouldn’t even check me to see if I was even close to labor. He was very old fashioned in the sense that he wouldn’t check me, there was to be no induction before 14 days over, and there would be no c-section unless medically necessary.

 2) What surprised you about giving birth in Switzerland?

When I arrived at the hospital after laboring at home for nearly 26 hours, I was greeted by a young mid-wife who checked me into a spa-like room {soft purple lighting, expensive bottled water, a lounge to be examined on} and told me I was at 8 centimeters. She had me walk to the delivery room, which was the most beautiful delivery room I had ever seen. The delivery bed had no stirrups, there was soft pink lighting, a hot tub, modern bath with shower, and a sheet hanging over the bed for me to pull on if needed. The “normal” American hospital where I delivered my first two babies was very sterile, hospital-like and cold compared to what I experienced in Switzerland {the county/public hospital where all the babies are born}.  It was no match to the system and comfort I felt in Switzerland. I didn’t have one IV in me and there was no hospital gown provided. My doctor never even showed up! It was just two young 20-something mid-wives who delivered my son, a cool 30 minutes after I arrived.

International Birth Story thebestofbaby.com

 3) What surprised you about post-natal care in Switzerland?

I was most surprised by the fact that it is customary for a new mother to stay in the hospital for at least four days after giving birth. That seemed a bit much to me since after my first two deliveries I was out after one night thanks to my insurance. I felt like I was staying in a hotel, complete with a balcony. The food was amazing, the staff was very helpful and because I delivered so early in the morning, I was able to have my own room. The level of care well exceeded my standards. I ended up leaving after one night though, to get home to my other two children.

 4) Overall impression of pregnancy/birth culture.

Giving birth in Switzerland was the best birthing experience I could have had. After having little issues here and there with my first two deliveries, I was really looking forward to having a peaceful, natural and quick birthing experience the third time around. I’d say that was accomplished. The best part about it was that the hospital staff treated me like a strong woman giving birth, not a sick person in need of drugs, IVs and control. I never would have expected this from a public, county hospital.

International Birth Story thebestofbaby.com

  You can read more from Ashley at her blog, Simply Wright and follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Stay tuned next week for another fascinating international birth story!


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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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  • jess.white05@gmail.com'
    Reply Jessica White April 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. It’s unfortunate that American hospitals feel such a need to make the entire experience so medical and technical.

    My first pregnancy was in a US hospital, standard delivery {no meds}; my second was with triplets,which meant very medical {I did avoid a c-section}; and now with my third pregnancy we’re planning on having a home birth, to avoid just how controlling American hospitals can be.

    So glad you had such a wonderful experience.

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 21, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Oh my gosh I would be SOOOO interested in hearing your triplet birth story. How amazing that you avoided a c-section! I hope you have a wonderful birth with this pregnancy!

  • itsmedebcb@gmail.com'
    Reply Deb April 21, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Interesting that the hospital stay is four days there. Seems like a lot. Thanks for linking up at the Best of the Blogosphere linky party!
    Deb recently posted…The Magic TreeMy Profile

  • Sydneyv@yahoo.com'
    Reply Christina April 22, 2015 at 12:29 am

    I loved reading this- thank you so much for sharing. I love that here in Canada we are moving back towards midwifery care and a more holistic birth expereince. The birthing room you decribed sounds wonderful!

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      I’ve heard great things about birthing in Canada! I think the US is slowwwwwly awakening to the benefits of that care model. Too slowly though, if you ask me!

  • tori.lyn.fletcher@gmail.com'
    Reply Tori Fletcher April 22, 2015 at 2:48 am

    I delivered in Germany and I loved it!! The language barrier was a fear of mine since I speak zero German!! But with the help of my husband and doula I was able to have the natural, drug free birthing experience that I set out to have!!

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Tori that’s wonderful! I’ll actually be featuring a testimony from Germany in the next few weeks…I wonder how yours will compare 🙂

      • tori.lyn.fletcher@gmail.com'
        Reply Tori Fletcher April 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        I can truly say that I have no complaints or regrets!! My experience was wonderful to some of the not so good stories I was hearing from other military spouses over here. But I have my amazing husband, an awesome doula, Megan, and God to thank for that!!

  • mbette827@gmail.com'
    Reply Maria April 22, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I love this series so much. It’s so interesting how vastly different the US is from other countries when it came to birth (spa like atmosphere vs. sterile; short hospital stay vs 4 days…) I would be interested to know about her maternity leave. Switzerland (and Europe in general) is known for their long maternity leave. I read somewhere that father’s in Switzerland can take up to 400 some odd days of paternal leave. I wonder if it’s the same for moms. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Maria recently posted…5 Blissful Moments All Moms Should Experience DailyMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      I think it’s safe to say that almost every country but the US has pretty decent maternity leave. Sad the US undervalues moms (and dads) so much…

  • burkholder.rose@yahoo.com'
    Reply Rose @ Walnut Acre April 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

    What an awesome experience. I wish the US would take a few lessons in this area!
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  • aimee@fortybyfortyfitness.com'
    Reply Aimee April 22, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    This sounds like an incredible experience! I would have loved to have some of those options in the US. Even though I had natural, unmedicated deliveries with each of my 4 children, it certainly wasn’t a spa like experience!
    Aimee recently posted…Exercises for Diastasis RectiMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      I had a spa like environment created for me by my midwife/doula, but it’s certainly not the standard! It made such a difference though in helping me relax…

  • tmpresser@gmail.com'
    Reply Terri Presser April 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    What a great experience, I’m all for no medical interevention unless absolutely necessary. Thanks for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
    Terri Presser recently posted…AQUAPONICS UPDATE #3My Profile

  • daffny@dontdareblink.com'
    Reply Daffny April 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    A spa like experience? Mmmm. As much as I loved my births, I’m beginning to realize the US has it all wrong! I do find it interesting that the doctor was too old fashioned to check her, but still gave an ultrasound at each appointment. Here extra sonograms mean high-risk, and are strongly cautioned against doing any more than absolutely necessary. My last was high risk, and I have to say the weekly sonograms were nice. I felt like I knew his personality before he was even born.

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Yes, I found the vaginal check/sonogram thing a big paradoxical too. And as much as I hate internal exams, I’d rather have an unnecessary internal check than an unnecessary sonogram, simply because sonograms make me wary=.

      • Daffny@dontdareblink.com'
        Reply Daffny April 24, 2015 at 9:51 am

        I was never worried about sonograms… Until they sent me for one week, and WTE seemingly sent out an email about the dangers of too many songograms almost as often. Ugh! But I chose not to add the stress to my life by worrying about it, and like I said, I felt especially bonded with my baby because of it.

        I never thought about how I felt about physical exams. I learned the hard way after my first delivery that too many checks can throw off your balance and cause yeast infections. But what is too many? When you’re in hard labor for 24 hours, you’re just bound to have a lot of checks, whether your doctor performed any in the office in the weeks preceding or not. Checks I didn’t mind. Stripping my membranes? Whole other subject. Ha!
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  • emmy@emmymom2.com'
    Reply Emmy April 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Sounds like an amazing experience and that they have some things figured out right. Women used to stay in the hospital a lot longer, I know my mom did with all of us but she said she was usually bored by the end and ready to go home.

    Thanks so much for linking up with the Best of the Blogosphere link party.
    Emmy recently posted…Friday Five: Human bowling, caterpillars and the Apple WatchMy Profile

  • addingatouchofgrace@gmail.com'
    Reply Tiffany | A Touch of Grace April 25, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I love hearing about birth stories in different countries! We’ve talked about moving abroad but I’m so worried about having a baby internationally. It sounds like I have nothing to worry about!
    Thanks for sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!
    Tiffany | A Touch of Grace recently posted…Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins: Muffin #6My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby April 30, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Ooh Tiffany, where are you thinking of moving?

  • Reply Thank Goodness It's Monday #120 - Nourishing Joy April 27, 2015 at 3:04 am

    […] International Birth Stories – Switzerland from The Best of […]

  • melissa@morewithlessmom.com'
    Reply Melissa French, The More With Less Mom April 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    It’s so neat to see how other people live. Thanks for posting. Hello from Thank Goodness It’s Monday.
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