Updated: Oct 3
This article will explore the choices available regarding where to have your baby in Geneva, the advantages and disadvantages of each place, and the safety aspects of your choice.
Your options about where to have your baby will depend on your needs, pregnancy, and the type of insurance you have.
It is important for you to be able to choose where to have your baby because you need to feel confident and in charge of your birth. You have to feel that you are making choices which are suitable for you that fit with your preferences and wishes about the kind of birth you are going to have.
All women are very different and their pregnancies are different. Some women will be recommended to have a hospital birth, other women will really want to have a hospital birth because that feels the safest for them even though the evidence shows that giving birth at home or in a birthing center is very safe. Therefore no woman is the same and it is very important that you make your own choice.
However, before you make that choice you might want to inform yourself first, as the birthplace of your baby will have a huge impact on the type of delivery you might end up having, on the early days with your baby and the days and years which will follow. No woman forgets the birth of her children, it is a powerful event which will stay with you for the rest of your life and therefore it is extremely important that you feel in control of your birth.
So where can you have your baby if you live in Geneva
Birthing centre (Maison de Naissance)
- the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) - Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneve
Private clinic/hospital (basic health insurance LAMal will not cover the whole stay)
Before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of each place I would like to mention a very important study which was done in England between 2008-2010. The study is called The Birth Place Study which collected data on care in labour, delivery and birth outcomes for the mother and baby for over 64,000 ‘low risk’ births. In simple terms, this study is looking at how safe it is to have a baby at home, at a birthing center and in a hospital.
According to this large study, giving birth is generally very safe.
Interestingly this study revealed that women who planned birth at home or in a birthing center had significantly fewer interventions, including substantially fewer Cesarean sections, and more 'normal births' than women who planned birth in a hospital.
For women who had a baby before, there were no significant differences in adverse perinatal outcomes between planned home births or birthing centers and planned births in hospitals. Furthermore, the odds of having a Cesarean section, instrumental delivery or episiotomy, significantly and substantially reduced.
For women having a first baby, however, a planned home birth increases the risk for the baby slightly
( 9.3 adverse perinatal outcome events per 1000 planned home births compared with 5.3 per 1000 births for births planned in a hospital).
Unfortunately, for women having their first baby, there is a fairly high probability of transferring to a hospital during labour or immediately after birth (transfer in labour rate was 45% for planned home births, and 36% - 40% for planned birth center births).
For women having a second or subsequent baby, the proportion of women transferred to a hospital during labour or immediately after the birth was significantly lower (12% for planned home births, 9%- 13% for planned birth center births).
Let's have a closer look at Home Births
Some women like to have their baby in their home with a midwife they know and who has been looking after them during their pregnancy. Not all midwives do home-births and therefore if you are planning to have your baby at home, make sure that you ask your midwife well in advance if she does home births. If you already have a midwife and she does not attend homebirths, it is not a problem to change your midwife. In fact you can change your midwife anytime during your pregnancy, birth or in the postnatal period. This website provides a list of all the independent midwives in Geneva. If you click on the individual midwife it tells you if she does homebirths (accouchement à domicile), what part of Geneva she covers and what language she speaks. https://sagesfemmesgeneve.ch/rechercher.html
Please note that some midwives stated on the website that they do home births, but check that it is still the case as many of them unfortunately don't attend home births. To save you some time phoning around, here is a list of current midwives who attend home births in Geneva:
Nathalie Donnez (Nathalie speaks English very well) Her number is +41 76 775 53 05
Elisabeth Lathuille-Ferjani (Elisabeth speak only French) Her number is +41 77 454 07 37
Véronique Spinnler (speaks only French) +41 22 329 05 55
Nathalie Luisoni (speaks English very well) Her number is +41 79 744 74 84
Advantages of a home birth:
- Having a midwife in labour whom you know
- Being in a familiar environment where you feel safe and comfortable and therefore more relaxed. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to birth your baby due to the oxytocin flow
- You can take as much time as you and your baby need, there are no hospital protocols to rush you
- Cozy, intimate, dark, your own little nest and all the midwife's attention on you. Hospital midwives often have to worry about their other patients, logging notes into a computer, being interrupted by her other duties, having to follow hospital policies, which are there to manage and run a busy large institution and being constantly interrupted by other colleagues and supervisors
- Your labour does not have to be interrupted by a transfer to a birthing centre or hospital, which can slow labour down
- You will not have to leave your other children if you have an
- Having as many birthing partners as you like
- Fewer interventions
- Higher chance of having a natural birth
- You will not have to be separated from your partner after the birth
- Less risk of catching an infection
- Covid-19 friendly
Disadvantages of a home birth:
- You may need to be transferred to a hospital if there are complications. The Birthplace Study found that 45 out of 100 women having their first baby were transferred to hospital, compared with only 12 out of 100 women having their second or subsequent baby. However, if you decide to have your baby at a birthing centre or hospital you will still need to be transferred soon or later as you will be at home for the early stages of your labour. However, transferring at the beginning of labour will be more comfortable than when you are traveling in established labour.
- For women having their second or subsequent baby, planned home birth is as safe as having your baby in hospital or a birthing centre. However, for women having their first baby, home birth slightly increases the risk of a poor outcome for the baby (from 5 in 1,000 for a hospital birth to 9 in 1,000 – almost 1% increase for a home birth).
- Epidural and gas and air is not available at home.
Birth centres are small maternity units that are staffed by midwives. They aim to offer a homely and warm, rather than clinical and cold environment.
Midwives are the e