Many expats are of childbearing age and are naturally concerned about both the attitude and approach to childbirth in the country they are moving to. If you are currently living in a country where medical intervention and caesareans are common, it’s important to be prepared if you are moving to a country where the approach is more natural and visa verse!
What you should know about giving birth in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a reputation for being a country that encourages pain-free, natural birth, but there are a wide range of options available, making it a great country to have a baby in.
Comprehensive medical cover
Even if you have just arrived in the Netherlands, as a pregnant mother you are immediately entitled to basic health insurance, which covers most of your maternity costs. Ultrasound scans at 12 and 20 weeks are covered under your insurance, but if you want additional ones, and you have no medical reason for them, you will have to pay for them.
A dedicated midwife
If you are a South African expat, you might be unfamiliar with the concept of a midwife. A midwife is a woman who is trained in all aspects of birth and baby care and will be your primary care giver during your pregnancy. You need to register for an appointment with a midwife in your area when you are 10-12 weeks pregnant.
Your midwife will inform your local GP of your condition and there is no need to make an extra appointment. Your midwife will then make detailed notes of your medical history and chat through any concerns you may have about your pregnancy. Your midwife will monitor your blood pressure and listen to the baby’s heartbeat and give you an estimated due date. If you are a low-risk birth, your midwife will attend to all your care throughout your pregnancy and assist you in your labour – at home or in the hospital. In fact, if you are healthy – you may never see a doctor or specialist during your entire pregnancy or birth!
If you are regarded as a more high-risk patient you will be referred to a doctor or specialist at your local hospital who will monitor your care throughout your pregnancy.
Hiring a Doula
A doula is a highly-skilled birthing partner that many women choose to employ in Netherlands, especially if they are planning to give birth at home.
Giving birth at home
Many women in the Netherlands choose to give birth at home where they can enjoy a birth free of many of the restrictive monitoring devices that are used in hospitals. About a quarter of all births take place at home, assisted by either midwives or doulas.
A birthing centre – a halfway option
If you would like less medical intervention but still want the security of specialist care, a birthing centre is a good option. Here you can enjoy facilities like birthing pools but still have access to expert care if you need it.
Choosing a hospital birth
If you have medical complications or are expecting more than one child, you will be advised to have your birth in a hospital where you can be closely monitored.
Help at home after the birth
The Dutch maternity nurses are one of the huge benefits of giving birth in the Netherlands, especially if you are an expat with most of your family and friends far away. Your maternity nurse will help you for 24 hours (which you can split over several days) with changing and bathing your baby. She will also assist with making meals for you and even help with some light housework. Your maternity nurse will closely observe you and your child’s health and ensure you are both doing well. Many women choose to pay for additional hours to enjoy the services of their maternity nurses for even longer.
If you’re thinking of immigrating to the Netherlands and need advice concerning your finances, contact us today. We’re here to help you unlock your South African wealth and put you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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