The Netherlands are recognized as a great country for maternity care and for their unique approach. One thing you might hear here if you are expecting is: « You are not sick. You’re just pregnant »
Indeed, pregnancy and birth are approached as natural processes and not necessarily medical events that need to be supervised in hospitals, unless required.
For « low-risk » pregnancies, midwives (verloskundigen in Dutch) are the ones who will offer the pre/postnatal care and attend birth. They are independent workers usually organised in group practices in which they will welcome you for regular checkups and to answer all your questions.
Picking your midwives is entirely your choice. It is best to do so before week 6 or by week 10 at the very latest. But as a general rule, the sooner the better as midwives practices are often very busy.
01. Look in your neighborhood
Go to www.verloskundige.nl, a website created by the Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives (KNOV) that allows you to easily find practices based on your zip code. Choosing a practice in your neighborhood is quite convenient, especially toward the end of the pregnancy, when appointments get more frequent
02. Ask for recommendations
It’s always a good idea to ask people around you for recommendations and talk about their experience, what they liked and disliked about their practice. Ask your GP, friends, colleagues, and family for recommendations. You can also look up practices on www.zorgkaartnederland.nl to read reviews that could help you form an opinion.
03. Do some research
Each practice is different: some practices offer specific approach (eg. Centering Pregnancy), some offer different types of packages or additional services such as information evenings, in-house courses, parent meetups, easy access to extra care & support with selected practitioners, etc. It can help to do a little research/ comparison to learn about the different options.
⚡️In addition to the infos mentioned in the slides, criteria that could also matter can be:
. the size of the practice/ number of midwives,
. opening hours for appointments (sometimes also possible in the evening)
. possibility of having echos done directly on location (instead of going to a separate centre).
Do not hesitate to get in touch directly with the practices to learn more and ask questions before registering.
If you don’t speak Dutch, know that this won’t necessarily be an issue as the Dutch usually have a very good command of English.
🌟On Parentally, we’re also referencing a number of midwife practices that are used to serving international families. Go have a look!
Last but not least: your choice is never definitive. If you don’t feel comfortable with the practice you’ve chosen, don’t be afraid to change. Midwives will play an important role in your journey so it’s important that you are 100% happy with your choice.