Giving Birth in The Netherlands & Postpartum Care – Jovie’s Home

hi welcome to Jovi’s home. so have you ever wondered what it’s like to give birth in another country? Would you like to hear
about some of the interesting and cool aspects of Dutch maternity and post
birth care that sounds good to you and come on in kick off your shoes and stay
a while I’m really glad you’re here so the first aspect of Dutch maternity care
where we need to start is we need to talk about medical insurance medical
insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands for everyone who is there
and if you don’t sign up for your medical insurance you will have to pay a
fine but Dutch medical insurance is actually quite excellent the basic
package covers most of what you would need for maternity care
you can certainly choose to have like a supplement you know some extra packages
you can add on to your basic insurance but in general basic insurance will pay
for most of what you need and if not then you have the deductible depending
on what you choose but at in 2019 I believe that the statutory deductible is
380 euros so you wouldn’t necessarily pay more than that anything out of
pocket if you need it there are many many companies that offer health
insurance in the Netherlands but the basic package will be the same medical
insurance for children under 18 and is completely free and they will be covered
under the same package as what the parents have so once your baby is born
they will have the same insurance that you have the next thing as it pertains
to Dutch medical care in general this is not specific to maternity but it you
know when you’re pregnant you’re gonna go to the doctor anyway is that the
first point of contact the first person that you might see is your what they
call house arts or home doctor a family physician they are the main point of
contact for any medical issues in the
Netherlands normally they are able to help you out with whatever you need and
it’s not then they might give you a referral to see a specialist in some
cases like when you are too ill to leave they will actually visit you at home
which is something that’s different that I’m not used to from the states you know
in the states you have to go to the doctor it’s very rare that they will
still come to your home but in the Netherlands it is possible that you know
if you’re not feeling well and you really can’t get out of your house to go
see your doctor they will come to you which is kind of like thumbs up for
Dutch doctors that come visit you at home one thing that surprised me when I
got pregnant in the Netherlands is that most pregnancies are actually followed
by a midwife and not a doctor I’m let’s call me American for now because mostly
grew up in the States so that was kind of the system that I
was then I still compare everything to em so I was expecting that when I got
pregnant I was going to see a gynecologist or an ob/gyn you know
throughout my pregnancy but that is not the case in the Netherlands so most
pregnancies are followed by a midwife in my experience the midwives have
beautiful homey offices where you can go and just feel comfortable it’s not as
clinical as going to a hospital to visit the gynecologists which is where most of
the kind of closest work but yeah midwives are very experienced in birth
in the Netherlands and if you have the mindset of I need to see a doctor for my
pregnancy that might come as a shock to you because it came as a shock to me and
for my first child I really strongly rejected having a midwife for the first
let’s say seven and a half months of my pregnancy I did not
trust midwives later on come to find out they are actually the much better choice
if you have just a straightforward pregnancy of course if you have
complications or something that’s some that’s a different story but if you have
to seek a regular straightforward a normal pregnancy a midwife is where you
want to be you are able to insist on going to a gynecologist if you want I
did but be prepared that the gynecologist might not be that happy to
see you if you have just a simple straightforward pregnancy they will ask
you they’ve asked me why are you here why aren’t you at the midwives what’s
happening and every time because that you see a different doctor every time I
had to explain like no I’m American I want to see a doctor I don’t want the
Midwife and that was not really well received however once my pregnancy did
become medical because I was diagnosed as having gestational diabetes then I
did have a reason to see the gynecologist and then things changed a
little bit then it was like oh okay that’s why you’re here now now it makes
sense but just for a straightforward pregnancy definitely your best shot and
your best choice would be to see a midwife but as I said you can insist on
seeing a gynecologist something that surprised me
is that there is no such thing as an elective c-section for your first child
in the Netherlands you are not able to say I just prefer to have a c-section
that is not the case first-time mothers you are going to have to try to deliver
vaginally impossible however if something happens during the
delivery or if there is a medical reason before birth that you need to have a
c-section you can have one but you cannot choose for it like you can in a
lot of other countries I ended up having an emergency c-section with my first one
and then with the second one once you’ve had a c-section in the past you are able
to request a second one if you prefer it because then there is a medical
indication still for you to have a c-section but the first time around no
unfortunately not unfortunately I mean birth is birth right so it’s not
unfortunately you’re gonna have a baby at the end so just be prepared if you
are pregnant for the first time and you have in your mind like oh I think I’m
gonna have a c-section with this baby the chances are it’s not gonna happen
pain relief is something also that I found surprising the approach to
childbirth in the Netherlands is much more natural and that you know our
bodies can do the work themselves and you know we don’t necessarily need pain
relief it’s okay our hormones are helping us and and that’s fine but you
should know if you are coming from a country where pain relief is offered
like M&Ms that’s not the case in the Netherlands
if you really strongly know already that you are going to want an epidural
you should start saying that to your midwife and as soon as possible or your
doctor whoever you’re seeing throughout your pregnancy just let them know make
sure that it’s in the file make sure everyone is aware that you will be
asking for an epidural I have several friends of mine who you know have had
the experience where they will go into labor and then they’re saying please can
I have an epidural and then there’s no anesthesiologist around or they’ll say
well mm we have to wait a little bit more and then you wait a little bit more
and then suddenly you’ve waited too long and now you can’t have an epidural
because the baby is coming right now so the approach is not quite the same as in
some other systems for epidural so just because epidurals can be like
soso to get that doesn’t mean that you don’t have other options there are
certainly other options for pain relief like you can get the I guess it’s
morphine shot or like a shot of something
there’s a TENS machine a lot of hospitals and birthing centers offer
some kind of water based pain relief whether that is that you can labor it or
not and a birthing pool or you know you can stand in a shower those are actually
great options and that is supported and you know you have that also there’s
hypno birthing that’s something that you do before you’re in labor that you
prepare for and then another option for you which it’s gonna sound strange that
I’m talking about in the pain relief category but certainly helped me so much
during my first labor was having a doula and if you are able to afford that
because that is not something that’s covered under any kind of insurance
scheme if you can have a doula with you at your birth I really strongly suggest
it because that made my first birth which could have been extremely
traumatic and we’ll talk about that maybe another time when I share my birth
story doula is incredible and she was there with my husband and I the whole
time and they have tips and tricks you know you know above all there’s like so
many different options and things that you can do and a doula is really there
to help you and with massage or breathing that pain relief is quite
effective it I I was able to labor until I was almost eight centimeters dilated
and I did not feel the need to ask for pain relief until maybe the very very
end so that was an excellent source of pain relief for me in terms of places
where you can give birth I was quite surprised when I found out that in the
Netherlands it is still pretty common I mean it is losing popularity but it is
still quite common to give birth at your own home so the Midwife would come to
you and you can give birth at home that is an option another option is that you
can give birth in a birthing center or you can have an elective hospital birth
that is certainly available and if you’re coming well not just if you’re
coming as an expat book for everybody there are tours available as Hospital
birthing centers and Hospital birthing floors I guess maternity wards you can
have a tour of one of those before you decide where you’d like to give birth if
you’d like to give birth there kind of get a feel of what the rooms look like
and if you are if if you were certain that you would like to have something
like I really really hoped for a water birth for my first time it was important
to me that the place where I would give birth had a birthing pool so that’s kind
of cool that you can have those tours have a look and see if the amenities
that you’re looking for are available in the place
you’re looking at if you do give birth in a hospital and if everything is just
a normal straightforward vaginal birth with no complications be prepared that
you might be discharged just like a few hours later there is no spending the
night there is no you know two days of waiting in the hospital within your baby
you know if you’re fine your baby’s fine you go home that was shocking to me when
I went for you know this tour of a hospital that we were looking at and
they were saying you know with everything’s fine you’re gonna go home
then all the expats were like hello what’s happening if I have birth in the
middle of the night and we’re like no you still you still just go home and the
reason for that is it’s what’s called a crab’s or and that is the most to me
that is the most interesting and phenomenal part of the dutch maternity
care that is you know what let’s get into that now once your baby is born if
you’ve had just a normal vaginal delivery and everything’s fine with you
and everything’s fine with the baby you will be discharged and go home after
just a few hours this is because in the Dutch system there is something very
unique and really incredible and I wish that this was in other systems too like
in all over the world and that is what’s called a downsell and I guess translated
that means kind of like afterbirth health care but but it’s like it’s a
nurse who specializes in afterbirth care postpartum care the crabs or will come
to your house and she will help you and your partner learn what it is to be a parent if it’s
your first time and if it’s not your first time they’re there to support you
and whatever lazy me basically if she is an angel that comes to you and helps you
for the first I think five to eight days depending on on your need they come and
they help you with things like teaching you how to change a diaper teaching you
how to bathe a child you know a newborn they weigh the baby on a daily basis to
see how he’s he or she is growing they help you establish breastfeeding if
you’re choosing to do that they they can help you you know with questions about
everything you know is what is the normal color of poop for a baby like
like whatever questions you have like big or small it doesn’t matter the
crab’s work is there to help you they also do wonderful magical things like
let you have a nap you know while you’ll feed your baby for example and then
there’s you know a period of a couple of hours and she was saying you know now is
your turn don’t have a nap I will take care of your baby or she will help you
maybe do a little bit of light grocery shopping she will clean your bathtub or
shower if you’re having a shower there you know wherever the wherever the mom
is done using they will clean it every day so you have a nice clean fresh place
to go they also clean your toilet every day so you have a nice clean first place
the Dutch crabs works are really really special
and I hope that that that is something that always stays part of the Dutch
Maternity system because I as a first-time mom had no idea about
anything you know I didn’t grow up with a lot of kids in my family so if you
gave me a baby and said change this diaper
honestly I would have had no clue or how to bathe something so small and fragile
you know but these people come and they teach you
and they help you and they are incredible so that is definitely a
wonderful wonderful thing that you can have if you prefer not to go home
there is something called a aboard the hotel or a berth hotel and that is a
place where once you’re discharged from the hospital you can go and stay with
your partner it’s like a yeah like a birthing hotel and you can say there for
the for the whole time that you have the like allowance of the counselor or you
can stay like one night or two nights you can kind of mix and match we can
have some days when you’re in the hotel and then other days when you are at home
and have somebody coming to your home so this this is also like something that
you can think about and see what you like
and you can do it like a tour of some of these four hotels and see if that’s a
place but you would like to go while you you know recover and learn about
mothering I guess the Hobart the hotel it’s a really cool option if for example
your baby comes earlier than you expected and you don’t have things ready
I’m not talking about super super premature children who need to stay in
the hospital but just you know somebody that comes a bit earlier and maybe you
don’t have your crib set up and you don’t have like all the things ready so
you can go to a place where they have already everything for you and then you
can have some help from whoever to get your house ready so that once you go
there it’s all ready I have a friend who they were doing
renovations on their house and they were not ready to go to their actual house
with the babies the newborn so they ended up going to a wonderful birth
hotel for them for the entire duration of her that was a large time and they
had a good experience with that so this is also an option while you recover
while you learn while you get stronger somewhere that you can go and have help
if for whatever reason you end up having a c-section the you will end up spending
like two to three days in the hospital afterwards and these two or three days
will count as part of your crabs or time so let’s say that you generally be able
to see section you will have nine days of concert and you spend three days in
the hospital that means that you will have six days of support at home but
this is also you know something that is excellent because you are in the
hospital and the nurses there are teaching you all the things that you
need to learn well if it’s your second or third or any not your first child you
probably know a lot of the things but it’s very nice it’s a very supportive
pleasant way to have a child so once you’re at home and you’re settled and
maybe you didn’t go to the birth hotel so let’s say that you just gave birth in
a hospital and then you came home the concert will come and she’ll meet you
there anytime day or night for the first day she will make sure that you’re
settled that your baby is settled but you kind of know what you’re doing the
first night and then she will come back the next day I’d like a more reasonable
time you don’t look at 8:00 in the morning or something depending on the company that you choose
for your crabs or you might have one person for the entire duration or you
might have multiple people during the duration this is something you can
discuss with them at your intake appointment what your preferences are
you know you can say like I want to speaks English right I would like a
Spanish speaker or I would like to have somebody who does not smoke or you know
we have a huge dog so it’s important that my kronborg is not afraid of dogs
so these kind of things that you make it clear during an intake appointment and
then the company will try to kind of you know give you the the best person for
your situation and then the cons are it’s so beautiful what they do think
they have a book and every day that they come and they weigh the baby they’ll
like write down the weight they’ll write how much you know how often is the baby
eating how the child is growing they monitor the mother as well so they’ll
check with your stitches if you have any they’ll ask you you know how you’re
doing and they can be a liaison in case you do unfortunately I need to go back
to the hospital or something happens they’re there to let you know but in
addition to having the cons or you will also be visited at your home by a
midwife so even if you have had a hospital birth you will still have a
midwife that will come after the birth to your house and what they do there is
they’ll you know they’ll do the baby’s first blood tests there they’ll do what
they call a heel prick so they’ll take the baby’s little foot and we don’t do a
little blood test through the foot they will also check the mom to check
the baby they see how you’re doing emotionally physically mentally the care
is really like 360 degrees so yeah you’ll have your Midwife and your comms
org around coming to take care of you and baby and it’s a very relaxed nice
way to welcome a new life into the world and to have you know an experience to
have so that you can really focus on getting strong enough to take care of
your child you know let’s say if you had a c-section and you’re recovering so
it’s really supportive and wonderful so that kind of covers the basics about
dutch maternity care and what it’s like to have a baby in the netherlands if you
have any questions please leave them below I will do my best to respond to
them as much as I can but I also want to know if you are not considering having a
baby in the Netherlands if you’re anywhere else in the world what’s it
like to have a baby where you’re from what’s the system like are mothers and
children cared for this way or is it more like you’re kind of on your own
so now let’s continue this discussion in the comments below thank you so much for
watching thank you so much for coming over I hope to see you again soon
have a great day bye I almost broke my news

10 Replies to “Giving Birth in The Netherlands & Postpartum Care – Jovie’s Home


    Hi everyone,

    We are really overwhelmed by all the positive reactions on this video.

    This is one of our first videos and we learned a lot since we posted it.

    The most important thing is that the background music was way to loud.

    And because of the fact that this video still gets 500 new views everyday i decided to upload a new version without the background music!

    ~editor Daan~

  2. I've been living in NL just for 2 years, recently my dutch husband and I have been thinking to have a baby. Your video is truly helpful to get me know more of dutch giving birth system. I do still have some questions for episiotomy, do dutch midwives do episiotomy? Do dutch midwives help to protect vagina from tearing wounds? I'd be grateful if anyone answers my question!

  3. I gave birth to both my babies at home. I had a natural birth both times. My youngest daughter was born in January this year and after I said to my husband: "I'm never doing this again." The labor was fast (5,5 hours) but super intense but honestly, I've already forgotten how intense it was. I really could do it again, not sure if I'm going to though.

    By the way, we don't say giving birth in Dutch. A better translation is: Bevallen in Nederland.

  4. I really look forward to watching your videos. I'm newly married. My wife and I are planning on moving to the Netherlands and we've been worrying how it would be like having our first child there. This video has really calmed our fears.

  5. Hmmm, no wonder American women are the way they are; everything is so un-natural and technical, avoidance based and "the client is always right'. No wonder they are full of demands, anxieties, depression and are fear ridden. And 'midwife' is not the right word; it is more 'birthing specialist' because that is what they are. 'Kraam zorg', yes, other countries should take a leaf out of the Dutch after birth care book.

  6. Recently heard about a 2017 study, the US has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed countries. That's scary !

  7. Giving birth is not a disease. Pregnancy is not a disease. It has been done for 100s of miliion years. Complications however have killed women, in our past, to the point life expectancy of women was below 35 when men's was over 50. Or, monitor for complications and let nature have its cause most of the time. For instance, giving birth triggers hormonal changes – faciltate that.

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