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6 Tips for Expats Having a Baby in The Netherlands

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Expat moms share their experiences having a baby in The Netherlands - from wonderful prenatal care to the home birth option for uncomplicated pregnancies and everything in between. While many new moms have very short hospital stays, they receive at home care from a beloved Kraamzorg (home nurse) as part of their maternity care, which expats resoundingly say makes all the difference.

Expat Netherlands - 6 Tips for Expats Having a Baby in The Netherlands

Prenatal Care in The Netherlands

"I had wonderful prenatal care at the local Hospital Antonius, which I was not surprised to find out is the best natal unit in Holland. I was seen regularily and they took amazing care of me. I had two misscarriages before this pregnancy so was very nervous in the first 12 weeks. Whenever I thought something was wrong I would call the natal unit and speak to a midwife for reasurrance. They even let me come in for extra scans when I was very scared I had lost the baby again," explained an expat mom living in The Netherlands.

"I didn't really choose one. The local hospital is Antonious and has an amazing natal unit. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I began seeing a midwife at the hospital. It was not always the same one but they were all amazing and supportive and all spoke excellent English. I had a choice to have my baby at home or the hospital, I choose the hospital. During my labour I had a great midwife but then as things got complicated I was immediatley put into the care of a gynecologist. My care was excellent from all the medical professionals," recalled one expat.

Birth Plans Are Uncommon in The Netherlands

"Make sure you write a birth plan and discuss it with your midwife at about wk35. They don't normally do that here in the Netherlands but my midwife thought it was a great idea and was very happy that I did it. She then put the info in my records so that everyone taking care of me knew exactly what I wanted and didn't want before I was in too much pain to express my feelings," mentioned one mom.

Many Women Give Birth at Home in The Netherlands

"In the Netherlands if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy you can choose to give birth at home or in a hospital. I had high blood pressure so I had to give birth in a hospital. Women here do not receive an epidural unless the doctor or midwife thinks you need it. Natural childbirth is the norm here and that's what I had. Since my son was born almost 4 weeks early we both stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. Normally women go home very soon after the birth, within a few hours or so. I did have a positive experience but I would have liked an epidural," said one expat mom.

The Hospital Experience

"My son was born at the main hospital here in Dordrecht. We were planning a homebirth, but I had to deliver at the hospital due to medical reasons. They broke my water at 1 pm, and I was later given an IV to onset the contractions. That was was not fun, but it wasn't too bad. I gave birth to my son just after 9 pm. We stayed overnight at the hospital for observation, and we were released to go home later the next morning. Overall, I had a great birth experience. The medical staff was very friendly, understanding, and helpful. They also spoke an adequate amount of English, which was great," recounted one expat who had a baby while living in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

"I went into labour 11 days early, I had excellent care at the hospital but due to a very fast labour and my son being breech I finally ended up having a c-section. I had made a birth plan and discussed it with my midwifes and I had requested an epi which I could have had, so there was not problem with that, however my labour just went to fast and was complicated by him being breech so there as no time for the epi in the end. The after care is amazing. I had a private room and my husband could stay the night with us. The nurses came to check on us regularly and gave great advice," said another expat mom who had a baby in The Netherlands.

Aftercare Nurses in The Netherlands

"We had an absolutely amazing experience with our Kraamhulp (after care). She was so wonderful and helpful. She answered all of our questions and offered some great suggestions. She was a great support to our family during the first week after our son's arrival," said one expat mom.

"When I went home, I had a wonderful Kramzorg (which is basically a nurse specializing in mums/babies) who took care of me, my son, gave breast feeding support, fed me, cared for my c-section wound, weighed my baby everyday, recorded his growth, taught my husband to bath our son and take his tempreture etc and even did the housework. It was unbelievably wonderful - it made my transistion into motherhood so much easier. I never had any feelings of fear, or worry in that first week which meant when she left I felt confident I could do it on my own. When I hear of my cousins experiences in the UK I feel so lucky I had my baby here in the Netherlands. It is such a shame this service is not available to women in the UK," added another expat.

"The great thing about the Netherlands is that you get home help after the baby is born. A specially trained home healthcare worker came to my house for 8 days, 6 hours a day. She helped take care of the baby, showed us how to take care of the baby and did housework! She was especially helpful with breast feeding," commented another expat in Leiden.

Private Health Insurance for Expats in The Netherlands

If you would like information about private expat health insurance in The Netherlands, get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

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Updated On: May 12, 2018

First Published: May 12, 2018

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