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.