pregnant-woman
It all starts ith the positive pregnancy test: congratulations!
The first thing you need to do is look for a mid-wife (“verloskundige”). Normally, they will take down your name and details and you will get a first appointment around 3 months pregnancy. Sometimes, they will see you earlier, but most likely, you will have to ask for that proactively. The midwife will be your doctor, your counselor, will help you with anything related to the pregnancy. Note: if everything goes well and normal, you will not see a doctor/gynecologist throughout your pregnancy. Of course, you can always see your doctor (“huisarts”) if you have any medical questions.
During “normal” pregnancies, you will receive three ultrasounds (“echos”): in the beginning, at 20 weeks and in the end. However, quite often they will make more, especially if you have concerns with respect to the health of your baby.
And then the moment is there: the birth of your baby! In the Netherlands, it is still common to have a home birth, but you will discuss everything related to birth with your mid-wife. She will be the one guiding you through your birth, whether it is at home or at the hospital. Note that pain relief is not possible at home and may also be limited at some hospitals (for example, if they don’t have an anesthetist present at all time). But don’t worry; again, your mid-wife will talk you through all of this. She will also check on you and the baby a couple of times after birth. She will also inform you about the help you will receive after birth: your “kraamhulp”. The “kraamhulp” is called directly after birth and she will stay with you eight hours per day for a few days, then less, up until a total of around 40h. You will have to call up a “kraamhulp”-agency yourself and they will have some sort of intake with you. They will also discuss with you how much help you want (your health insurance will cover a certain number of hours, but you can always buy more) and what their work is specifically (they will check on you and the baby, do some house work, some shopping, but no hard cleaning stuff…).
A couple of days after birth you will receive an invitation for a hearing test (they either come to your house or they will let you know where to go) and to go to the “consultatieburo”. You will see a lot of the people there throughout the first couple of years. They will check on your child’s health and development and answer any questions you may have. Don’t see it as control but embrace them. They really know a lot…
Some useful facts:
  • Some hospitals have open hours of their “verloskamers” (the rooms in which you give birth). It can be nice to know where to go and to get an idea beforehand
  • You will need to go to city hall (“gemeente”) within three days to register your baby
  • You have the right of 16 weeks pregnancy leave. Note that you will always have the 16 weeks; meaning that if you stop working four weeks before birth you will have 12 weeks after (Four weeks is the minimum leave you must take before the expected due date)
  • After your pregnancy leave you can ask for parental leave (“ouderschapsverlof”). This is an unpaid leave and it will depend on your employer how you can take it (full-time or in a certain number of hours per week)
  • Once you have registered your child you will automatically receive child support (“kinderbijslag”). How much that is changes nearly every year and also depends on the age of the child
  • You may also be entitled for extra child support ( “kindsgebonden budget”), for more information go to: www.toeslagen.nl
  • If you want your child to go to daycare you need to find one yourself. Visit a few and don’t wait too long; some have a long waiting list! If you are interested in bilingual childcare have a look on www.kindergarden.nl
  • You may be entitled for some support for day care if both partners work or study and your common income is not too high (www.toeslagen.nl)