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Personal Health and Family Planning: Women’s Health in Switzerland
At a Glance:
- Personal contacts are often a big help when it comes to finding the right gynecologist.
- Yearly women’s health checkups are covered by your basic health insurance but if you want to get checked more frequently, it may be worth investing in a private insurance policy.
- Various contraceptives are easily accessible in Switzerland and the morning-after pill is also legal.
- Abortion has been legal in Switzerland since 2002 and if you choose to have one, it is covered by basic health insurance policies.
Women’s Health: Don’t Neglect Your Check Ups
Finding a gynecologist in Switzerland isn’t an easy task. However, it’s important that you don’t neglect your regular checkups — no matter how scary it might seem to be. There are a number of women’s health centers and gynecologists across Switzerland. Searching on doktor.ch can be a handy way to find your local gynecologist. As always, word of mouth is key! Talk to other expat women in Switzerland or ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.
When you find a doctor, talk to them about regular cancer screenings and checkups. The medical recommendation is one checkup every one or two years from the age of 18 onwards. If you have a family history that indicates high risk, you will be encouraged to go for checkups more often — at least once a year.
The cost of gynecological checkups is covered by basic health insurance policies for women from the age of teenage sexual activity until 69 years of age. For your first two checkups, you will receive a yearly bill for the excess and retention fee. After that, all other checkups are paid for every three years. If your doctor recommends any further tests, these will be covered by your health insurance.
The regular checkup included under the basic health insurance covers:
- a blood pressure check
- a blood test
- urine test
- breast examination
- cervical cancer screening (PAP swab)
Contraception and Pregnancy: Reproductive Health in Switzerland
A large variety of contraception methods are easily accessible in Switzerland. Most of them require a prescription and we recommend that you visit your gynecologist or a family planning clinic to find out which option is right for you — especially if you are thinking of switching methods.
The cost of most contraceptive methods in Switzerland is not covered by a basic health insurance policy. For women who have a prescription, purchasing the contraceptive pill is relatively easy and can be done online as well as at your local pharmacy.
The morning-after pill is also legal in Switzerland and available over the counter at most pharmacies and from many doctors’ offices. For more information on pregnancy and birth in Switzerland, please see our guide.
Unwanted Pregnancies: Abortion Law in Switzerland
Abortion in Switzerland was legalized in 2002, following a referendum. Within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, a woman can request an abortion by stating that the pregnancy has caused her distress. Abortions are also legal if the mother’s mental or physical health is at risk.
The pregnant woman needs to fill out a form issued by her canton and she will then be provided with a list of family planning centers and organizations that can further advise her. All of these recommended centers must meet set criteria on the quality of the counselling and care.
After the pregnant woman requests an abortion, she has to undergo in-depth medical counselling to ensure that she is fully aware of what is to come. Your local family planning center can offer further advice on guidance on abortions and follow-up care.
A woman under the age of 16 must meet with a specialist youth counsellor and sign a form declaring that she understands the situation before she can terminate her pregnancy. Parental consent for minors is currently not required under Swiss law.
Currently, the cost of an abortion in the first trimester is covered by basic health insurance policies. In 2014, the Swiss population voted against the removal of health insurance coverage for abortions.
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