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An Expat Talks about What is Was Like Having a Baby in Leiden, Netherlands

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Leiden

How recently did you give birth in the country that you are reporting on?

7 months ago

Describe your experience giving birth there. What type of facility did you go to? What (if any) type of pain management did you use? How long did you stay in the hospital? Was it a positive experience? Etc...

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! 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!

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How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?

Unless you have a complication it is normal to see a midwife for prenatal care here. I chose a midwife a friend had used.

If you were to have another child in this country, would you do anything differently in terms of preparation and/or the delivery?

I didn't find the prenatal classes that helpful so I might try to find a better class.

If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?

Try not to worry about labor pain. You will get through it even without an epidural!

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