Adolescent Pregnancy in Switzerland

  • Françoise NarringEmail author
  • Michal Yaron


The number of live births before the age of 20 in Switzerland is approximately 4 per 1,000 adolescent girls aged 15–19. Starting in about 1970, the adolescent birth rate among 15–19-year-old girls began to decline, from a high rate of 16 live births per 1,000. The influence of major social changes like sexual liberation, increase of the adolescent population, and women empowerment during these years may partly explain this decline. Cultural changes such as independence, education, and professional activity available for young women may have resulted in the older mean age at marriage. Swiss adolescents have one of the lowest birth and abortion rate in the world. Rate is described as, “safe, legal, and rare”. Access to contraception plays a major role in reducing the rate of adolescent pregnancy in Switzerland. Switzerland pioneered contraception and family planning centers in Europe. In cantons, where Protestantism was regarded as the principle religion, sex education and contraception were available in most clinics. Oral contraceptives in Switzerland have been on the market since the early 1960s, and condom use has been promoted through the national campaigns for AIDS prevention since the 1980s. Additionally, when young women and girls become sexually active, it is standard practice for them to visit a gynecologist to determine the best contraception. Subsequently, most youth (75 % among 16–20 year old) use at least a condom during first intercourse and the vast majority of youth (87 %) use oral and/or condom contraception. Although unplanned adolescent pregnancy will never disappear, Swiss medical and social service providers will continue to try and improve contraceptive prevalence and efficacy as well as improve care for adolescent females facing crisis pregnancies.


Switzerland: Abortions Adolescent birth rate Adolescent pregnancy Cultural values Migration status Pre- and postnatal care Religious affiliation Sex education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consultation Santé JeunesHôpitaux Universitaires de GenèveGenèveSwitzerland

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