Preparing for a baby birth : What should you put into the hospital bag?

Whether you are planning to give birth at home or at the hospital, it is always good to be prepared with the hospital bag well in advance. Wherever you give birth, keep in mind you may have to go to the hospital. It is important to have necessary items in the bag for yourself, your baby and your partner. There is always a question, what should we pack for the hospital and that leads to the last minute confusions. Do not worry, we have made a handy checklist for you. The list will give you a good idea of what to bring to the hospital.

When do you start packing the bag?

The labor can start anytime after 37th week of pregnancy. So our advice is to start packing around 34th week so that the bag is ready with essential items before the labor starts. With this you have enough time that you do not forget those cute little clothes you bought for the baby.
No stress of rushing to find all the things together and forgetting half of the things will not happen. Preparing early gives you a peace of mind and let you focus on what is important : bringing your baby into this new world.

Finally Checklist

You probably have a lot on your mind right now on what to pack and what not. Here is our handy checklist with all the tips that will help you to pack better.

Documents

The most important to pack are the documents. Do not forget them at the last moment.

  • Hospital Card : Patient id card for hospital (If you going to this hospital for the first time, you will need to be in line to get the hospital card or you can do it in advance by visiting the hospital)
  • ID card (can be your resident permit or Dutch driving license or a passport)
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Birth plan (not necessary, only if you have one)

During the delivery

  • A comfortable long gown/night gown or Tshirt (upto the length of knee)
  • A bottle of water
  • distraction for you (a magazine, books, songs on smartphones whatever interests you)
  • an elastic band to tie your hair
  • Something to eat or drink

After the Delivery (for yourself)

  • Toiletries
  • Underwear and a bra (some people prefer a nursing bra, some do not prefer to wear a bra right away, its upto you)
  • Bath slippers and a bathrobe or a bath towel
  • Clean clothes or another pair of night gown (whatever you feel is comfortable)
  • A phone and Charger or a Camera (you can click the photos during and after delivery)
  • Coins for getting the wheelchair
  • plastic bag for your dirty clothes
  • Nipple shield if the baby is not latching properly for breastfeed
  • Food and drink
  • Warm socks or a shawl (only if you feel very cold)

After the Delivery (for the baby)

  • 2 pair of romper (very important to take it to hospital) – Size 50/56
  • 2 pair of full body suit for the baby is a quick choice instead of a separate top and bottom – Size 50/56
  • socks and hat – Size 50/56
  • A blanket to keep the baby warm
  • A baby car seat so you can take your baby home safely

For Partner

  • Toiletries
  • Loose or comfortable clothing
  • Towel or wash clothes
  • Book or laptop or tablet or smartphone to keep you busy
  • Snacks and drinks

What will you already get at the hospital ?

There are few essential items which are already there at the hospital. You do not have to keep them in the bag at all. These includes :

  • Diapers and wipes. Also available in delivery room as well as your room
  • Warm bottles to keep the baby warm in the baby bed
  • Bandages for yourself etc.
  • Hospital grade pump if needed
  • Formula milk if needed

Pregnancy is a wonderful time. Despite the many to-do’s and don’ts, you should enjoy it and not let yourself be stressed. With a good organization you can perform all important tasks and you have enough time to look forward to the arrival of your child. Good luck !

Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression also known as postnatal depression or PPD is a type of mood disorder just after the childbirth.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) - Postpartum Depression Symptoms ...

Your body go through many changes during and after pregnancy. After the birth of the child, you and family, everyone want to spend the joyous moments together with the child. At the same time, as a mother, you may feel the mood swings, sadness, emptiness within a few days after the childbirth. These can be called ‘baby blues’.

Baby blues happens almost to every woman especially to the first time moms. If the baby blues does not go away and continues even after 2 weeks, then you may have postpartum depression. This is a very common problem after pregnancy and happens due to the extensive hormonal changes.

What are the symptoms of baby blues?

  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Sadness
  • Appetite problems

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

  • Severe mood swings
  • Loosing confidence in herself
  • Excessive crying without any reason
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Worrying about not feeling love towards her baby
  • Fear that you are not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness or inadequacy
  • Severe anxiety
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or baby

One may or may not feel all the symptoms at the same time. Some women do not tell about their symptoms as they may feel embarrassed, or ashamed about it.

What can cause the depression?
A lot of hormonal changes are usually the cause of such feelings. But there are many other factors that can contribute to this feeling such as :

  • Tiring labor or delivery
  • Tiredness due to lack of sleep
  • Overwhelmed with the newborn
  • Doubts about your ability to be a good mother
  • An unrealistic need to be a perfect mom
  • Being less attractive
  • Lack of free time for yourself

These feelings are very common to the new mothers.

How can you help yourself?

  • Rest as much as possible. Sleep when your baby is sleeping.
  • Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner. Even a 15 min free time is also luxury. 😉
  • If you cannot go out, ask your family to take out the baby for the walk etc. to get some time for yourself.
  • Talk about your feelings with your partner or your best friend. It is important to open up with someone.
  • Do not try to do too much or everything by your own. Ask for help or support from your partner or family.
  • Go for a makeover. Be beautiful and feel beautiful.
  • If you are not able to do some task, its okay. Its not realistic to be a perfect mom.

How can you partner help?

  • Listen to her. This is what she needs the most – emotional support. Encourage her to talk to you.
  • Don’t tell her to pull herself together. She would if she could. Instead, tell her that she’s doing a great job of being a new mother.
  • Don’t judge her if she is not able to do something. Instead listen to her freely.
  • Take her out at least for half an hour so as to change the environment around her.
  • Don’t make major life changes just after the childbirth.
  • Take on some of the night feeds or caring of the baby so she can rest a little bit more.
  • Offer practical support such as laundry, cooking, and shopping etc.
  • Remind her that the postpartum depression is common and she is not alone.
  • Do not forget to cuddle her.
  • If you think it is getting serious, with the approval of the new mom, talk to midwife and ask for the right help.

I hope the partners will read these suggestions and put them in action.

Finally a congratulations on having a baby!!

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Newborn Resident Permit

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Do you want to apply the resident permit for the newborn? Here is the step by step guide on how to do it.

When can you apply for Resident Permit?
If you meet below conditions, then IND cannot deny for providing the Resident permit even if the child does not have a passport.
– When your child is born in Netherlands and does not have a resident permit.
– Your child is part of your family.
– From your child’s birth, you and your child have main residence in the Netherlands.
– From your child’s birth, you have a valid resident permit or you are a dutch citizen after your child is born.
– You declare that you are taking the sponsorship of the child.

How to apply?
You can apply for the resident permit online. For online application, you will need :
– a DigiD with SMS code. You can see here on how to apply the DigiD id.
– Ideal or Internet banking to pay for your application

You can apply for online here at IND website..

How much does it costs?
The costs of the application is Eur 58.

What are the documents needed for application?
You will only need a BSN number for the application.

Collect Resident Permit
Within few weeks, you will receive a letter from IND that resident permit is ready to collect. You will then need to take up an appointment with the IND to collect the resident permit. During the appointment, you will need a passport of your child as an identification proof.


Heel prick and Hearing test

There are two important tests required in the first week after the baby is born. This is required to do an early detection of any abnormality so that it can be treated.

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Heel Prick Test :
In the first week after the birth, blood from your baby heel is collected and examined for a number of rare diseases.If the heel prick test will show that your baby has a rare disease, you will be referred to a pediatrician. An employee of GGD (Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst) will come to you home(usually without an appointment or call) to perform the heel test. The test will be performed within 4 to 8 days after the baby is born.
If the test results are good, you will not be notified. No news is a good news. If the test is abnormal, your will be notified and your family doctor will contact you.

Hearing Test :
Hearing test is also done at your home within first week after the birth. The test takes only few minutes and is painless. Results will be shared immediately. The hearing test will be done during the same visit as that of heel prick test.

Register your newborn

Register the baby at Gemeente within three days !

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You are required to register the newborn at Gemeente or municipality within 3 days after the birth. The day child was born is not included in the three days. If third day falls on weekend or holiday, you can register the next working day.

I myself gave birth at Amstelveen Amstelland hospital, however I live in Amsterdam. So I had to register in Amstelveen since the baby is born in Amstelveen.

In Amstelveen you can register the birth during opening hours at city hall’s Civil Registry (Burgerlijke Stand) desk. In Amsterdam you have to make an appointment to register at a city office (stadsloket).

Who can register?
The child’s mother or father can register the birth. If father is absent, then someone who was present at the birth is required to register.

What to bring with you?
– The name of the child.
– The date and time of the birth. No documentation is required for this. Sometimes hospital give this as a letter too.
– A valid ID for the person registering the birth.
– A valid ID of the mother
– A marriage certificate (may or may not be needed)

First week after the birth

The first week after the baby is born is going to be very busy, emotional and tiring. You need to adjust yourself to the new situation !

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Congratulations !! Your baby is born !
You must be very busy with adjusting to the new situation and overwhelmed with the feelings. Here is the list of things you need to do in the first week after the baby is born :

1. Kraamzorg
Inform Kraamzorg from the hospital itself as soon as your baby is born. If baby is born in the night, inform them in the next morning. Kraamzorg nurse will be there for you for the first week after the birth. However it can be extended for another 2 days if you request your midwife. All the report made by kraamzorg is shared with your midwife.

2. Midwife visits
Your midwife will come to your home often to visit you to check on your health and your baby health. Also to check on your experience with the delivery. Midwife will give you a call before coming.

3. Lactation consultant
If you are experiencing problems with the breastfeeding and kraamzorg is unable to help, you can also opt for a lactation consultant. The consultancy is not included in the basic insurance. You can get more information from kraamzorg nurse on this.

4. Register at Gemeente/Municipality
You must register the birth at the municipality with in three days. You will then get a birth certificate from Gemeente at a cost of Eur 13. You can have a look at here on the steps on how to do.

5. Receive the BSN number of your child
Once you register the birth at municipality, you will get a BSN number within few days at your home via post.

6. Add your child to the Insurance
As soon as you have the birth certificate, you should add your child to your insurance. There is no extra fee for the insurance.

7. Heel Prick and Hearing test
Heel prick and hearing test will be done by an employee of GGD. Someone will come to your house without appointment or call within 4 to 6 days after the birth. You need not have to contact anyone for this. More information on the tests can be found here.

The day of giving birth

Every child birth is different, every woman experiences it in her own way ! Trust yourself and your body, YOU CAN DO IT !!

Contractions have begun and the labor has started. Most of the time contractions starts with an irregular, short manner and not so painful at first. To see if your contraction are really started, midwife will check the contractions and feel the cervix with an internal exam. This gives her a good impression of the stage of your labor. Soon after, membranes starts breaking and amniotic fluid breaks as little warm water followed by more contractions. Midwife will be there to guide you on every step and help you with the process. When the cervix reaches 10 cm, after which you start pressing.
In the whole process, woman bears a lot of pain. There are some painkillers available so that you feel less pain. The pain medicines are not available in all the hospitals, so discuss this with your midwife in advance and then decide the hospital.

Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide)
You will be taking control and give yourself a laughing gas via mouth or nose mask every one minute. Midwife keeps an eye on you. Once you stop inhaling, laughing gas is quickly disappeared from your body. However you may feel sleep, dizzy or sick and you cannot use it during pressing.

Epidural
Epidural is an injection that will be given in your lower back. The injection will be given under local anesthetic. You cannot walk or feel difficulties during pressing or urinating because of the anesthetic.

Injection of Pethidine
Pethidine is given as an injection into your buttock or thigh.It is similar to morphine. It works with in half an hour and works for 2-4 hours.You can get sleepy with this injection. Sometimes babies can also become drowsy from pethidine. Baby also find it difficult to breatfeed and suck due to drowsiness.

Pump with Remifentanil
Remifentanil is similar to morphine which is infused through a pump. You will take the control to push the button. The pump is adjusted so that you can never give yourself too much. Remifentanil can affect your breathing and the amount of oxygen in the blood. You and your child are monitored closely when using this medicine.

So choose you medicine at the right time and discuss with your midwife on the side effects.
You can also read more on the advantages or disadvantages of each of the medicine here.

Good luck with your delivery !

The Prenatal Screening

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Most child’s are born healthy. However it is possible in the Netherlands to have you unborn baby tested for a number of congenital disorders. This involves the two screening. Both the screenings optional to choose.

1. The screening for Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes
People with Down syndrome have an intellectual disability and their level of development cannot be predicted. Children with Edward & Patau syndrome generally die before or during birth or rarely live past the age of one. You can get this tested by opting one of the two tests as below :

Combined Test
The combined test consists of blood test of pregnant woman between 9 to 14 weeks and an ultrasound measuring the nuchal fold of the child. between 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. This test cannot provide any certainity. This test will show the risk of the syndrome. If there is an increased risk, you may also chose to have follow up testing done such as a screening with NIPT test or an option of additional ultrasound check.
If you are living close to Amstelveen, this test can be performed within Amstelland hospital.
The cost of the test is around Eur 177. If there are twins, the cost is double. Basic health insurance does not cover the costs of the test.

NIPT Test (Non-Invasive Prenatal Test)
This is a new test and it tests the blood of pregnant woman from 11 week. The placental DNA will be checked. This DNA is similar to the DNA of the child. Other chromosomal abnormalities can also be determined using this test, these are usually additional findings. You can decide whether you want to be informed of additional findings or not.
If you are living close to Amstelveen, this test can be performed within Amstelland hospital.The cost of the test is around Eur 175. If there are twins, the costs is double. Basic health insurance does not cover the costs of the test.

2. The screening for fetal anomaly
This is a 20 week ultrasound scan.The scan looks at the head, heart, spine, abdominal cavity, arms and legs. The ultrasound checks the overall growth of the baby, the location of placenta and if there is enough amniotic fluid.
It is not possible to see all the anomalies with this ultrasound. This screening is covered by the basic health insurance. The gender of the baby can also be revealed during this test only if you like.

Pregnancy in the Netherlands

First of all Congratulations. The journey of pregnancy is long, tiring yet a very beautiful one !

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You know you are pregnant and you are in the Netherlands. Do not know what are the next steps? Should you call a GP or huisarts or midwife for the questions and checkup?

Well, do not worry at all. Here is our guide on what to expect in the upcoming weeks, once you know you are pregnant.

1. As soon as you know that you are pregnant, Find a Verloskundige(Midwife)
Who is Verloskundige? Midwife in the Netherlands are called verloskundige in dutch. Once you know you are pregnant, immediately call a midwife to take an appointment.There is no referral needed from doctor. You can find the midwife within or near your area here.
The midwife guides you during your pregnancy and perform all the checkups,scans etc and prepare you for the delivery. Midwife keeps an eye on your health and also of the baby.
You can choose a midwife of your choice and call them to register. You will be invited for an Intake and registration. At the intake appointment, general questions about your illness, ailments, use of medications, allergies, height, weight, health of your partner and relatives etc will be checked and details will be added to the file. Just that you know, all midwife practices are organized and work differently from each other. If you have any illness or special condition such as diabetic then you will be referred to specialist or gynaecologists who will then handle your pregnancy journey instead of the midwife.
Tip : You will need at least a basic insurance to cover up the expenses of midwife.

2. Ultrasounds
All the ultrasounds and checkups will be done by midwife and in their facilities. First ultrasound is around 8 weeks. After that checkups will be done every 4 weeks. The appointments are usually not more than 15 min. During the checkup, your blood pressure, growth of the belly and the baby, your health and baby’s heartbeat will be checked. Usually schedule of the checkup’s is as below :
– 1st checkup/ultrasound : 8 to 10 weeks
– Term ultrasound : 10-12 weeks
– 2nd checkup : 14-16 weeks
– 16-24 weeks : checkup every 4 weeks
– 24 to 30 weeks : checkup every 3 weeks
– 30 to 36 weeks : checkup every 2 weeks
– 36 to 42 weeks : checkup every week

3. Prenatal Screening
Decide before or within 8 weeks of pregnancy, whether you want to go for a prenatal screening. Most child’s are born healthy. However it is possible in the Netherlands to have you unborn baby tested for a number of congenital disorders. This involves the two screening. Both the screenings optional to choose.
– The screening for Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes
– The screening for fetal anomaly. This is a 20 week ultrasound scan.

Your midwife will also inform you about these tests. You can ask your midwife on the hospitals where the tests can be performed.

You can read more about it in our next blog here.

5. Apply for an insurance kit (Kraampakket)
Call your insurer and inform that you are pregnant. It is mandatory to have a maternity package from insurance. The package contains everything you need for your delivery and first days afterwards such as medical products, maternity dressings, mattress protectors etc.

4. Arrange Kraamzorg (Maternity Care)
There is no country in the world apart from Netherlands that provides a carer who supports women during or after childbirth. Kraamzorg provide assistance during the first week of the your baby arrival. It is important that you rest to be able to recover and adjust to the new situation. There is a concept of Kraamzorg(Maternity care carer) to help you out with the below tasks during the first week after delivery.
– Checks on you and your baby
– Guidance with breastfeeding
– Supports with everyday household work
– Takes care of preparation of meals(if you like)
– a few other additional tasks
Always register at the Kraamzorg as early as possible(betweek 12 to 20 week of pregnancy) as they are also very busy specially during summer period(a lot of babies are born during summer in Netherlands). The intake usually happen between 30 to 36 weeks pregnancy.
Tip : Always request a kraamzorg with breastfeeding expert during the intake.

5. Arrange a Maternity leave
If you are working, then you need to have maternity leaves arranged. For that you will need a pregnancy statement from your midwife. The pregnancy statement states that you are pregnant and the expected delivery date for you.
You may take leave upto 6 weeks before the due date. However it is mandatory to stop working at least 4 weeks before the due date. The total leave lasts 16 weeks. So you always have atleast 10 weeks after the child birth. You will receive maternity benefits equal to your salary.
If you have a partner, the partner is entitled to upto 5 weeks of leave within 6 months of child birth. This is applicable starting 1st July 2020. Partner will get 70% of salary from uwv.
The first 6 months after giving birth, you are entitled to take additional breaks for pumping.
From next year, the number of leave for pregnant woman and partner is going to be increased.

6. Decide where you want to give birth
Decide early on where you want to give birth? Would it be a home birth or a hospital birth? It is a tradition within Netherlands to give birth at home.
If you plan to give birth at home, the kraamzorg nurse will come to you before the birth to guide and support you. All the costs are covered within your insurance.
If you plan to give birth at the hospital, you will call the midwife. Midwife will come to your home to do a checkup and then assist you to the hospital. Note that full costs of delivery is not included in the insurance.

7. Prepare a bag for your delivery day
Prepare a bag with all the necessary things required for delivery. This must include clothes for your baby, comfortable clothes for yourself, a towel for yourself, Slippers.
You will get a big list from midwife, not everything is important or mandatory.