So, you are having a baby in the Netherlands. Congratulations! But how does pregnancy in the Netherlands work? What can you expect when it comes to Dutch prenatal and postnatal maternity care? What are your options concerning the delivery? Read on and find out.
What can I expect from prenatal care in the Netherlands?
As soon as you know you are pregnant, it's important to make an appointment with a midwife or a GP who practices obstetrics. Generally, pregnant women in the Netherlands will visit their midwife / obstetrician every four weeks in the first half of their pregnancy. Usually, the number of appointments will increase near the end of the pregnancy.
When it comes to ultrasounds, Dutch health insurance companies usually only reimburse two of them. You can expect your first ultrasound exam around the 10th week of your pregnancy (termijnecho), and the second one around the 20-week mark (20-wekenecho). For more information read our prenatal care in the Netherlands guide.
Where can I give birth in the Netherlands?
For a long time, giving birth at home was a popular option for pregnant women in the Netherlands. However, the number of women who deliver their baby at home has been steadily declining. Besides giving birth at home, you can also have your baby in a birth centre or at the hospital. It will be up to you to decide which delivery option will suit you best.
What can I expect from postnatal care in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands takes great pride in its postnatal care system. Postnatal care in the Netherlands is called kraamzorg, and it's unique to the country. A kraamzorg nurse checks up on you and your baby daily, and they also take care of basic housekeeping. Legally, you are entitled to a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 80 hours of kraamzorg. After kraamzorg, the consultatiebureau will monitor your child.
Registering a birth in the Netherlands
After giving birth, you will need to register your child at the local municipality, with the department of municipal population affairs. You must do this within three days of the birth of your child. A birth certificate will then be drawn up for your child.
Maternity and paternity leave in the Netherlands
If you have a job in the Netherlands and you become pregnant, you are legally entitled to at least 16 weeks of paid maternity leave (6 weeks of zwangerschapsverlof, 10 weeks of bevallingsverlof). Partners of mothers who have just given birth are legally entitled to one workweek of paid leave (geboorteverlof). Example: Does the partner work 6 hours a day, 5 days a week? They will get 30 hours of paid leave (5x6).
Since July 1, 2020, partners of mothers can get an extra 5 weeks of aanvullend geboorteverlof. This is unpaid.
Find out more about maternity and paternity leave in the Netherlands.