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Expecting a child and becoming a parent

This page provides you with useful information concerning your new role as a parent, from the course of the pregnancy through the different institutions which can assist and advise you before and after the birth of your child to the administrative procedures to be completed when your child is born.

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A new parent is faced with a whole host of physical, emotional and administrative changes which sometimes give rise to questions and uncertainties. On this page, you will find information and resources to assist you during this new stage in your life. 

Administrative procedures to be conducted before or just after the birth of your child

It is useful for you to find out about all the different procedures you must undertake once your child is born. Some of them can be completed before the big day.

Announcing a birth

The management team of the establishment in which the child was born must declare the birth to the Civil Registry Office within a deadline of three days. For children born at home, the declaration of birth can be made by any person (father, midwife, doctor, etc.) who attended the birth within a deadline of three days.

Since 2016, a branch of the civil registry office of the City of Geneva has been present within the maternity ward of the HUG, thereby facilitating the registration of new-born babies and providing information about the means of registering a birth while the mother is still on the maternity ward. Located on the ground floor, the branch is open every afternoon and all day Monday.

Recognising a child

A father who is not married to the mother can only recognise a child before or after the child’s birth via the civil registry office.

Parental authority

Married parents have joint parental authority.

When an unmarried couple recognises a common child, the parents can submit a declaration of joint parental authority to the civil registrar at the same time as the father recognises his child.

Other useful formalities

Health insurance for your baby

Your baby must be insured against illness by his/her legal representative as soon as he/she is born. To this end, you must take out a basic health insurance either before the child’s birth or no later than three months after the birth. Beyond this deadline, insurance cover will only begin from the date of affiliation and will therefore not cover any costs incurred since birth.

If you wish to take out a complementary insurance, it may be useful to do this before the birth. This will enable you to avoid a health insurance company refusing to affiliate your baby if he/she is born with a pre-existing condition.

Childcare

If you live or work in the City of Geneva, you can register your child with the Early Childhood Information Office (BIPE) to obtain a place in one of the early childcare structures from the 12th week of pregnancy (3 full months). In the event of a registration during pregnancy, the parents must inform the BIPE of the child’s birth and submit the accompanying birth certificate.

Medical monitoring during pregnancy

An antenatal check-up by a midwife or doctor is recommended every 4 weeks. As part of the basic insurance, your health insurance fund will reimburse 7 check-ups by a midwife, or more if prescribed by a doctor.

Antenatal preparatory classes and activities

Information, advice

Personalised information and advice are provided by professionals from the medical and associative scene in Geneva. For example, the HUG or l’Arcade sages-femmes provide antenatal advice and preparatory classes for future parents, including for migrant women and women who speak very little French.

Produced in collaboration with numerous organisations and institutions as well as the cantons and federal offices, the Swiss BabyGuide provides new and future parents with a complete manual relating to the periods of pregnancy, childbirth and the child’s first three years.

Physical exercise during pregnancy

Physical exercise offers pregnant women numerous recognised benefits. You should nevertheless consult your doctor to check that your sporting activity is not contra-indicated. Some sports where traumatic risk is high, such as team ball sports, combat sports, jogging and horse riding, must be avoided. Favour more gentle sports or sports specially adapted for pregnant women, such as antenatal gym (with or without a ball), swimming, aquagym, yoga and walking.

Developing a link with your child

There are several activities, such as haptonomy or antenatal singing, which help develop a link with the unborn child. Discover a range of antenatal activities on the Geneva family website.

Pregnant women and employment

Announcing a pregnancy at work

The mamagenda.ch website provides a series of checklists and other useful tools to help you decide when and how to announce your pregnancy at work.

Protection of pregnant women

Pregnant women who work enjoy special protective measures. These relate to health protection, payment of salary in the event of medical leave or work disability due to pregnancy and the employer being prohibited from terminating the employment contract during this period.

Leave granted to parents

Maternity leave

Women with a gainful occupation (employees, independent workers, unemployed or working in the family business) are entitled to federal maternity leave lasting fourteen weeks (98 days) after birth. In Geneva, this period is extended by two additional weeks of cantonal maternity allowance.

During this period, mothers receive 80% of their salary in the form of a maternity allowance up to a maximum of 196 francs per day. According to the staff regulations or collective employment agreements, these allowances may be more generous.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave is not provided for by any federal legislation. In the private sector, however, employers must grant employees a certain number of hours’ or days’ leave for family events. Explained in detail in your employment contract, these provisions enable you to ask your employer for one or two days’ leave when your child is born.

Some employers also offer fathers the possibility of taking paternity leave following the birth of their child. To know if this provision exists and to learn the number of days to which you are entitled, contact your employer directly.

Teenage parents

The reproductive health and family planning unit (USSPF) of the HUG provides you with information, guides you and answers all your questions concerning your sex and reproductive life free of charge and in total confidentiality. You can find ample information and resources on the Young parents website intended for teenage parents and young adults and in the “Teenage mother in Geneva: what choices, what support?” brochure published by the University of Geneva and the Haute école de santé de Genève.

Support upon returning home

Monitoring by a midwife upon leaving the maternity ward

As soon as you leave the maternity ward, a midwife will visit your home to monitor your physical and emotional state as well as the health of your baby. This service is generally reimbursed in full by the health insurance funds, although you are nevertheless advised to contact them to obtain the necessary information.

Care and support

Upon returning home, parents may have a number of questions or uncertainties relating to the new addition to their family, their life together, the mother’s health and baby’s diet, safety or sleep. Several institutions provide support and a listening ear free of charge:

Family allowance

In Geneva, the birth of a child entitles you to:

  • birth allowance of CHF 2,000, on condition that the child is born to a mother who is resident in Switzerland;
  • child allowance of at least CHF 200 per month, paid for each child under the age of 16.

Allowances paid in the event of a large family or for the education of young people aged between 16 and 25 are also considered as family allowances.

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Article modifié le 06.03.2020 à 14:11