Now living in Switzerland and pregnant- giving birth in a foreign language.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 09-30-2009, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

I have just lived in Switzerland for one year and now pregnant and getting a lot out of mothering.com just wondering if there are any other subscribers close to Zürich? I am still learning German and a bit nervous about giving birth in a foreign language. Seems that the midwives in the hospital I will most likely have the baby do not speak english. Just curious if anyone has any wisdom to pass along in regards to having a baby in Switzerland, multilingual etc.

Thanks
Carlotta
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#2 of 15 Old 10-01-2009, 04:46 AM
 
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I am sort of close to you, maybe 4 hours.. ? I live in Austria and am having a similar problem/experience. We moved here about a half a year ago and I am learning German but in no way fluent. I will be giving birth here at a birth center but it only has 1-2 midwifes who speak english so I am sort of on my own (or rather, really dependent on my DH help).

I would be curious if anyone else has had an experience giving birth in a place where you barely understand the language. I have been trying to learn key medical phrases and terms/words for things so at the very least I can communicate "pain", "diapers" "drugs", "I don't understand", etc etc

DS1 Dec 2009 fuzmalesling.gif DZ Twins July 2012 babyboy.gifbabygirl.gif

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#3 of 15 Old 10-04-2009, 06:34 AM
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I'm in Zurich and pregnant now - due in January.

I haven't found a midwife yet but I'm looking and it seems there are a fair number who speak English. I am thinking about a homebirth for this very reason because I will then know who will be attending my birth. Have you thought about that or a birth center?

Or maybe hiring an English/German speaking doula to advocate for you?

Is this your first? I am sure it will work itself out. Maybe bring a laptop and google translate to help with basic words.
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#4 of 15 Old 10-04-2009, 06:44 AM
 
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Maybe bring a laptop and google translate to help with basic words.
thats actually a great idea (just have to check if there is wifi)

DS1 Dec 2009 fuzmalesling.gif DZ Twins July 2012 babyboy.gifbabygirl.gif

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#5 of 15 Old 10-19-2009, 07:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lotta_earth View Post
Hello,

I have just lived in Switzerland for one year and now pregnant and getting a lot out of mothering.com just wondering if there are any other subscribers close to Zürich? I am still learning German and a bit nervous about giving birth in a foreign language. Seems that the midwives in the hospital I will most likely have the baby do not speak english. Just curious if anyone has any wisdom to pass along in regards to having a baby in Switzerland, multilingual etc.

Thanks
Carlotta
Hi! We are currently in Scandinavia and found out we were pregnant in June. Finding a midwife, getting tests done, looking for parenting books has been a bit of a challenge - so I know exactly what you feel like! The thing is, we are moving to France before this baby will be born - so we get to start all over again really soon .

Have you considered getting a doula that might speak English, if it is certain your midwifes won't? Not only would she be able to explain/translate but she'd also be a great advocate for you. Otherwise, ya, you'll just have to hope for a good wifi connection and the ever reliable google translator!

My family = me + dh & ds +
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#6 of 15 Old 10-19-2009, 08:06 AM
 
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I'm back in the US now, but I did give birth in Germany. We moved over there when I was 7 months pregnant with my first and DH and I barely spoke the language. We knew basic verbs at that point. I was told that "every doctor speaks English."

Of course, I managed to get the one doctor and midwife at the hospital that knew no English at all. We did a lot of charades and looking things up in a dictionary becauses nobody knew how the wifi worked even thought the hospital did have it. I ended up having a c-section, so I can't help much with the labor part. I ended up spending 8 days in the hospital and the midwives were wonderful. I think there were 8 or 9 midwives and all of them tried to best to speak English and communicate with us. They helped so much with my recovery and breastfeeding.

mama to   broc1.gif DS 6/06 and banana.gif DS 4/08
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#7 of 15 Old 10-19-2009, 08:26 AM
 
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I gave birth in Europe. I had my language teacher spend a few lessons on pregnancy & labour language. I found it easier to practice and ask questions when not in the heat of the moment. I was able to prepare a bunch of sheets of translations for standard phrases. My language teacher and I had quite a few laughs too because it was the first time she'd given a gynecological language lesson & I had to pantomime a few things.

Mom of 5: dd (10), ds (8) & dd2 (4), my sweet baby son born still 3/2/09, and celebrating the arrival of our dd 5/7/10.
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#8 of 15 Old 10-19-2009, 08:43 AM
 
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I'll second (third? fourth?) the suggestion to get an English speaking doula.

I live in France, and for my 1st was quite worried, although I speak fluent French. I was afraid it would abandon me in the heat of the moment! It didn't, and my husband speaks English (and is also fluent in French) so he acted as my birth partner and helped me communicate.

Good luck!!!

ETA: We ended up not getting a doula because the birth clinic wouldn't allow having 2 people with a laboring mother. So check with your clinic, too.
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#9 of 15 Old 10-19-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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I looked into a doula here, and if you can believe it I am in the one friggin' area of the whole country which doesn't have ANY. :mad

Im hoping my DH really can handle this since he speaks fluent German and fluent English, he might be my only hope at times.. My german is good in conversational but in terms of medical lingo.. not so hot. I think I might learn and practice some phrases ASAP before going into labor.

DS1 Dec 2009 fuzmalesling.gif DZ Twins July 2012 babyboy.gifbabygirl.gif

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#10 of 15 Old 10-20-2009, 09:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ithappened View Post
I looked into a doula here, and if you can believe it I am in the one friggin' area of the whole country which doesn't have ANY. :mad

Im hoping my DH really can handle this since he speaks fluent German and fluent English, he might be my only hope at times.. My german is good in conversational but in terms of medical lingo.. not so hot. I think I might learn and practice some phrases ASAP before going into labor.
I think you will do very well. Try to learn the terms for specific things, but other than that you'll be good. They have lots of experience with delivering babies when the mom doesn't speak the language.

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#11 of 15 Old 10-31-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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I don't think there are any doula's here either. To be honest you'd be suprised at how little you need to communicate giving birth abroad. OK so my spanish is good, but medical terminology I am not good on. With the birth and Isabel in hospital it did stretch me. But most of what you need to know you can quickly pick up. If you sit down and write a birth plan you'll pretty much get most of the birthing terminology. Things like let the umbilical cord stop pulsing before you clamp. Once you've got that in your birth plan you'll remember a few of the words. Birthing is easier than a normal every day conversation as you pretty much know what's going to happen (contractions, pushing, baby), a conversation can take any direction.

Clare briefly mother for 3 weeks to Isabel 25-12-08, Soaking up every precious moment with my little guy Dec-10. My blog link is in my profile.

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#12 of 15 Old 12-07-2009, 08:38 AM
 
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I live just outside Geneva. We just moved here this summer when I was 7.5 monhs preggo. I don't speak French yet. I had a homebirth and I purposely sought out English speaking midwives. Whenever I made appointments I specifically asked for doctors who speak a language I speak. Zurich is a pretty international city. Have you asked for another doc? Have you considered a midwife? THe computer translation works fine for appointments but I doubt in the middle of labor you will be thinking about that. How far along are you?

Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
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#13 of 15 Old 12-16-2009, 07:02 PM
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Check out Spital Zollikerberg

http://www.spitalzollikerberg.ch/

That is where I am going for various reasons and this seems to be a hospital many English speaking residents go to for childbirth.

PM me if you want more info.
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#14 of 15 Old 01-27-2010, 11:03 AM
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I had DS a week ago at Spital Zollikerberg. Their English was good, their midwives and nurses were good but their doctors were very intervention-friendly. I had an U/S because I thought my water was leaking (to check fluid levels) and they panicked over DS's projected size (9 lbs 8 oz). They wanted me to have a c-section. I had already pushed out a 9 lb 8 ozer so I declined. There were more interventions attempted that I managed to avoid by having a super fast labor as well.

Next time (haha right) I think I'd go with a spital that spoke less English but was more naturally bent.
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#15 of 15 Old 03-12-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Hello,

My partner and I are planning on moving to Switzerland within the next three months and so, we will be there before I give birth to my first child. I was wondering if anyone has any information on how I will be able to continue my prenatal care once I get there? We are planning on staying in Geneva. Also I'm worried about the language barrier. I'm doing my best to learn french, but don't know if I'll know enough in time. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Laura
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