You’re having a baby, congratulations! Now what’s next? Here are 5 important steps in your journey if you are pregnant in the Netherlands and planning to give birth here.
01. Choose your Midwife
It is not standard to be followed by an OB-GYN in the Netherlands, unless there is a medical condition requiring it. For most women, the midwife will be the one who’ll provide the prenatal care and will be there during birth. So choosing your midwife is the first thing you need to do, once your pregnancy is confirmed. The first appointment usually happens between week 9 and 12, then every 4 weeks and weekly as your due date approaches.
The choice of the midwife is entirely yours. You can ask your GP, family, friends or colleagues for recommendations. You can also conveniently choose the closest practice in your neighborhood or look farther if you’re looking for something in particular: some practices have a specific approach or methods, some offer ultrasounds on site, or extra services and events. So if you’re feeling like it, do not hesitate to ask and look around for what’s available.
02. Check your insurance
Basic insurance usually covers:
- midwives care,
- at least 2 ultrasounds,
- the costs for giving birth at home (or at the hospital if required),
- and kraamzorg.
Check your insurance to confirm if and how these important services are covered.
Then some insurances also cover (part of) the costs for additional support such as: antenatal classes/doula, breastfeeding support, nutrition advice, etc. So it’s definitely worth having a close look. Just make sure you also read the conditions and fine prints carefully. For instance: to cover part of antenatal costs, some insurances require that the registration to the course is made in the mother’s name. A small but important detail!
03. Arrange your Kraamzorg
Now this is one thing new families around the world might envy us: Kraamzorg! A maternity nurse (aka « kraamverzorgende » or « kraamverzogster ») coming to your home right after giving birth -or while, if you’re giving birth at home- to take care of you and your baby and make sure everything is going well: recovery of the mom, growth of the baby, feeding, etc. Every new family is entitled to kraamzorg, usually 49hrs but minimum 24hrs and maximum 80hrs, spread over the 8-10 days post birth (also called the “kraamweek”). These hours are covered by insurance.
There are two options to arrange for kraamzorg:
- You can either go to a “kraambureau”, an agency that will arrange everything for you. Someone from the agency will meet you in your home prior to your due date to explain how it’s going to work and answer any of your questions. However you won’t necessarily meet your maternity nurse in advance.
- Or you can directly book an independent one, whom you can meet in advance to make sure they are a good fit.
It’s usually best to have this handled by week 16 but in truth, the sooner the better, especially if you have your heart already set on someone in particular. Some kraamverzogsters are quite busy with agendas filling up quite quickly.
04. Get prepared
There are many ways to prepare for birth. Which ones to choose really depends on your preferences. We always say: knowledge is power. It’s not necessarily about knowing everything but more about being aware of your options and different scenarios, so you can embrace your journey with confidence and an open mind, however things may unfold.
Getting prepared could mean anything from taking birth preparation courses to hiring a doula, taking prenatal yoga classes, relaxing, resting, meditating, exercising, reading books, collecting advice, or listening to podcasts or different birth stories to get some inspiration and new perspectives…
It can be any, some, or all of these together, whatever works best for you.
05. Get support
Having support all along your journey will definitely help make things easier. Not only physically, but also emotionally. Seek support among loved ones, family members, friends, other expectant moms, support groups and circles, as well as professional support whenever needed. Having a support network will make a difference in so many ways.
Of course, if you are looking for professional support, there is Parentally. Get in touch, we are here for you ♥️