Your verloskundige (midwife) will visit you at home within a week of your child’s birth. If you have seen an obstetrician instead of a midwife, you must go to their clinic for appointments, or arrange a visit to your doctor or midwife. You must check with the hospital to see if they organise this visit by a verloskundige; if not, you will be required to make an appointment with a local verloskundige yourself. The verloskundige is also responsible for the hielprik (heel prick test) where a sample of blood is taken from the baby’s heel to detect for hereditary illnesses. This occurs during the week when the kraamverzorgster (maternity aide) is caring for you and your baby.
You will have a final postnatal check-up six weeks after the baby is born at the practice of your verloskundige (midwife) or in the hospital.
Preventative healthcare is the primary goal of the consultatiebureau (child health clinic). It provides vaccinations free of charge and checks the growth and development of babies and toddlers up to four years of age under the guidance of resident nurses and doctors. Once your child is going to primary school (usually at the age of 4 as kindergarten is part of primary school), the check-ups are continued by a schoolarts (school doctor). Going to a consultatiebureau or schoolarts is not compulsory, but it is strongly advised. You are not required to follow the advice of the consultatiebureau or schoolarts should you feel that it is not good for your child.
As soon as you register your child’s birth, the child is automatically registered with your nearest child health clinic. This is done at the stadhuis (town hall) in the town where the baby was born, within the department of municipal population affairs. If your baby is not born in the town where you live, the procedure is different. When your baby is two weeks old, a child health clinic nurse (wijkverpleegster ) will pay an initial visit to your home. During this visit, the nurse will gather your child’s medical history, explain how the child health clinic system works, give you a copy of the ‘Groeiboek’ book (an English version called ‘growth guide’ is available on request). The growth guide outlines a baby’s first years of development, supplies important phone numbers, lists appointments you have attended at the clinic, records vaccinations, and charts your baby’s height and weight. It will also provide you with the name and address of your nearest child health clinic. If you do not have this book, your family doctor or midwife can direct you to your nearest child health clinic.
Please note that any vaccinations for your child will be given at the child health clinic. Click here for more information.
Once your baby/child has been registered in the gemeente (municipality) – because your child was born abroad and you just moved to the Netherlands or if you have just given birth in the Netherlands – you will receive an invitation from the consultatiebureau (child health clinic) in order to make your first appointment.
If your child is not registered at the municipality, for example if you have privileged status (representatives of other countries and staff of international organisations, including their families usually have this status), you can contact your closest child health clinic directly and register your child yourself. If you have a newborn, it can be worth asking your kraamzorgende (maternity aide) for help in doing so. During the first year, you will visit the child health clinic approximately eight times and then a few times each successive year until your child is four years old.