The Netherlands is a country where postnatal care is held in high regard. Kraamzorg, a type of postnatal maternity care, is, in fact, unique to the Netherlands. When do you arrange for kraamzorg? What are you legally entitled to? And what comes after kraamzorg? Are there any legal matters you need to be aware of?
Kraamzorg: A unique form of postnatal care in the Netherlands
Typically, you need to arrange for kraamzorg by the 16th week of your pregnancy. You can choose which organisation will provide you with a kraamzorg nurse. You will find out how many hours of kraamzorg you will get during the introductory meeting with the kraamzorg agency. However, the standard amount is 49 hours in total.
What does a kraamzorg nurse do?
The kraamzorg nurse:
- Teaches you and your partner about basic childcare.
- Checks your recovery daily.
- Checks the baby daily (weight, temperature etc.).
- Does basic housekeeping, such as doing the laundry and cleaning the bathroom.
- Guides you, if necessary, with breastfeeding.
Amount of kraamzorg you are entitled to
You are legally entitled to:
- A minimum of 24 hours, divided over 8 days
- A maximum of 80 hours
It could be that your recovery is not going as expected, in this case, you may be entitled to more hours of kraamzorg.
Costs of kraamzorg
For the largest part, kraamzorg is covered by the basic Dutch health insurance package (basiszorgverzekering). You have to contribute 4,50 euros per hour yourself. However, if you have additional insurance, this amount may also be covered.
After kraamzorg, the consultatiebureau (child healthcare centre) takes over the monitoring of your child. You don’t need to contact them; they will contact you once you have registered your child at the local municipality.
You and your baby will visit the consultatiebureau around 13 times. The first visit will occur when your baby is four weeks old, your last visit will occur when your child is four years old. A check-up at the consultatiebureau lasts about 20 minutes.
What does the consultatiebureau do?
The consultatiebureau does the following:
- Offers to do a newborn blood spot test, also called a heel prick test (hielprik). This test will screen your baby for rare but potentially serious disorders. The test is voluntary, and it will be done in your home.
- A hearing test (gehoortest) to determine your baby’s hearing. This test will not hurt your baby and it only lasts for a couple of minutes. This test is done in your home.
- Monitors the health and growth process of your baby.
- Gives information and advice concerning the health and growth of your baby.
- Vaccinates your child. Vaccinations are not compulsory in the Netherlands, but they are recommended.
- Eye tests, usually after your child’s third birthday, and again after your child’s fourth birthday.
- Offers courses, such as prenatal classes, breastfeeding guidance etc.
Please note, it is not compulsory to visit the consultatiebureau.
Registering your child
After you give birth, you will need to register his or her birth at the local municipality within three days. Also, you are legally entitled to at least 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. Read more about maternity and paternity leave in the Netherlands.