Pregnancy and childbirth

Most women in The Netherlands remain under the care of a midwife (verloskundige) during pregnancy and childbirth. If you want to go straight to a gynaecologist in the hospital rather than a midwife, you must first get a referral from your GP.
More information about pregnancy and childbirth in the Amstelland Hospital.

The midwife
In The Netherlands the midwife, or verloskundige, guides you through your pregnancy and birth. As soon as you discover that you are pregnant, you should make an appointment with a midwife, generally for about the 8th - 12th week of your pregnancy. You do not need a referral letter from your doctor.

The midwife checks on the state of your health and that of the baby. Over the course of your pregnancy, you will visit your midwife more frequently; at the end of your pregnancy on a weekly basis. Your midwife will provide information on giving birth at home or in hospital and will give you advice on a healthy pregnancy.

You can phone the midwife yourself to make the appointment. You will find midwives listed in the yellow pages under verloskundigepraktijk.

Homebirths
In The Netherlands, homebirths are relatively popular. About 55% of births are planned to take place in the home. If this is not for you, you can always choose to have your baby at the hospital. However, some insurance companies will not cover a hospital birth unless there is a medically compelling reason to do so. So you should ask about the cover provided by your policy first.

If your child is born at home, the midwife will be there to support you during the birth. The circumstances at home are usually very good and most women thrive in their own home environment while giving birth.

Pain medication
As natural births are also popular, pain medication is normally not offered during birth either at home or in the hospital. If you want pain relief, you must make it very clear to your care providers! Do not be afraid to ask for what you want and stick to your wishes. Inform your doctor or midwife that you are from a different country and want your traditional form of care, whatever that is. Be aware that midwives are usually not trained to administer pain relief medication so having it will possibly require a hospital birth.

Postnatal care
The birth is followed by a program of postnatal care, or kraamzorg. A postnatal welfare practitioner will come to your home for the first week after the birth or your return home with the baby. She will come for several hours a day and help with everything to help you adjust: cooking, cleaning, feeding, changing, child minding, etc. Be sure to register for kraamzorg (postnatal care) as soon as possible, preferably at the beginning of your pregnancy. Sometimes your Insurance company will tell you which organizations you can register with in your area. Some insurers leave the choice to you.

Registering your child
All births in The Netherlands must be registered. The law says that this must be done within three days of the birth. Births can be registered at the municipality of the city where your child is born.

The following documents will be required:

  • both parents’ passports;
  • child’s birth certificate;
  • marriage certificate (if applicable) unless both parents are already registered in The Netherlands;
  • residence permits.

In order to register, you must bring along valid proof of identity for both the child’s mother and father and a statement by the doctor or midwife. You can register the birth at the townhall of Amstelveen, at the desk ‘Burgerlijke Stand’ (civil registration desk). More information on the website of Gemeente Amstelveen.

Brochures National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (http://www.rivm.nl/English)

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