Expat Magazine

I'm Pregnant in the Netherlands. What Do I Do Now?

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips

I'm pregnant in the Netherlands. What do I do now?Back in mid-April of this year I discovered I was pregnant. While this is something my husband and I had talked about and been planning, neither of us had planned for it to happen so quickly!
This being my first child, I have no idea what to expect here in the Netherlands. Heck, I wouldn't even know what to expect in the US!
So, of course we had a lot of questions and were desperate to find the answers.
We ended up telling people right away. I had read that it's best not to say anything to family, friends, bosses and strangers until week twelve when you're more or less out of danger of miscarrying. Turns out, it wasn't a big deal anyway as we ended up being a week further along than originally calculated.
I must say though, it was a good thing we came "out of the closet" when we did. Because we ended up learning a lot from friends and found out that, in the Netherlands, there's much you need to do in those first few weeks.
First Things First: The Midwife
Find a midwife (verloskundige). Or an OB GYN if that's the route you want to go. We found a really excellent group called Doula here in Utrecht. It's comprised of four midwives that you get to know throughout your pregnancy. That way you guarantee that you are familiar with the midwife who delivers you, no matter which one of them it is. They do home, birth center and hospital deliveries, so I can also guarantee that, wherever we end up, one if them will be delivering my baby. You can find a verloskundige near you via the Koninklijke Nederlandse Organisatie van Verloskundigen (Royal Dutch Organization of Midwives).
Get on the list for Kinderopvang
That's daycare. I know it sounds ridiculous since you don't even have a baby yet, but waiting lists are so long. It is very possible that you will be on the waiting list for at least two years. Might as well register now and get a nine-month head start. Odds are we won't need the services of a creche as I work only a few hours each day. But we've gotten on several waiting lists anyway and requested care for five days a week. We can always cancel or request fewer days later at no cost to us and make someone else on the waiting list happy. Better to be safe than sorry. I asked around the international women's club I belong to and several friends to get some ideas. We've been on the waiting list for almost four months and are still waiting...
Find a Kraamzorg
A kraamzorg is a nurse that comes to your home for a few hours each day over the course of four to ten days after the baby's arrival. If you're giving birth at home, she will also be there to assist the midwife with the birth. In the days after the birth, the kraamzorg will stop by to examine you and the baby, teach you to take care of the baby, help you with breastfeeding if you choose to do so, do some light chores and cooking, and look after the general health and nutrition of mother and baby. These ladies are also busy, so it's best to sign up for a kraamzorg right away. We contacted our insurance company to see what kraamzorg care they covered and they were able to recommend one to us. All I had to do was make a phone call, tell them what I needed, and in days I had received my registration packet.
As I've had some readers contact me with questions and asking for information and advice, I'm going to take one day a week until Baby Cloggie's arrival in mid-December to talk about having a baby in the Netherlands and my thoughts and experiences. I also have some interviews with some other expat ladies who have given birth in the Netherlands as well as with doulas, midwives, and other experts in the field.
So if you're interested in this topic, feel free to join me every Monday here on the blog.
Do you have any specific questions about pregnancy and giving birth in the Netherlands? You can email them to me at [email protected] and I will include them in my Monday posts.
Photo: funbobseye, Flickr

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