Dossier: Pregnancy

Checklist: formalities before the birth

Administration and bureaucracy are words that fill most people with dread, but there are certain formalities that have to be dealt with in the run-up to the birth. Our checklist will make sure you don’t forget anything.

Acknowledgement of paternity

For unmarried couples, it’s easiest to obtain acknowledgement of paternity from the civil registry office before the birth. Once you’ve got the acknowledgement of paternity, biological parents can declare joint parental custody with the same authority. If you wait until after the birth to do this, you have to contact the child protection authority (KESB) at the child’s place of residence. With the acknowledgement of paternity, the father is legally obliged to pay maintenance until the child comes of age. Furthermore, the child is then entitled to inherit from the father.

Maternity benefits

You are entitled to 80% of your salary during maternity leave for 14 weeks or 98 days from birth. If you are employed with a company, your employer will organise this for you. If you are self-employed, unemployed or unable to work, you have to claim directly from the compensation office.

Family/child allowances

In Switzerland, all working parents are entitled to a family allowance, also known as the child allowance. The parents’ jobs determine the amount of family allowance they get. It varies from canton to canton, but the federal law stipulates a minimum allowance of CHF 200 per child. The family allowance is paid out with your salary – you have to apply for it through your employer. If you are self-employed, you have to contact the compensation office.

Health insurance

You can take out basic health insurance before the birth and up to three months after the birth. If you register your baby before the birth, it will be admitted to supplementary health insurance without a medical exam. If you apply for supplementary insurance after the birth of your child, a medical exam is compulsory with all health insurers.

Insurance plans

Notify all your insurers of the addition to your family.

Documents for the birth

You have to register your baby at the civil registry office within three days of the birth. If you give birth at a hospital or maternity facility they will take care of the registration for you. You will need the following documents:

  • Married couples: Family record document, confirmation of residence, ID
  • Foreign nationals: Foreign national identity card, family record document, confirmation of residence, copy of passport
  • Unmarried mothers: Confirmation of residence, ID, acknowledgement of paternity (if available)

You can obtain confirmation of residence from the residents’ registration office in your town.

Passport/identity card (ID)

If you want to travel abroad shortly after the birth, you should plan to get a passport/ID for your baby in good time. If you intend to stay in Switzerland initially, you can leave this job for a while.

Birth announcement cards

Before the birth, draw up a list of names with addresses of people you’d like to send a card announcing the birth. And choose the type of card and design. This way you’ll be able to send the cards as soon as possible after the birth.


Arrange appointments for newborn medical checkups with your doctor. Remember to register early with a paediatrician, because they may have a waiting list.