Every pregnant woman in the Netherlands has the right to postnatal maternity care. Kraamzorg (postnatal maternity care) is the term given to the medical service provided by a kraamverzorgende (maternity aide) to the new mother and her baby. Normally, 49 hours of service is provided over a period of eight days following delivery. However, the hours you are entitled to it will vary depending on the particular circumstances.
The kraamverzorgende (maternity aide) is a trained medical professional who will provide a range of services that may include:
The exact details of what your particular maternity aide will help with, as well as the frequency and length of her visits, will normally be determined before the birth. This first (prenatal) home visit will take place at around the seventh or eighth month of the pregnancy. It allows both parties to discuss the expectant mother’s needs and expectations. Once the baby is born, you have the option of adjusting the agreed schedule to more or less involvement after consultation with the agency. Flexibility is the key here.
It is important to note that the maternity aide is trained to guide and assist, not dominate or interfere. They will adapt to your way of doing things, not the other way around. If you decide that you do not want to breastfeed, then that will be taken as your choice. No pressure will be applied for you to conform to a given dogma, and support will be provided if you want it.
It is suggested that you register with a kraamcentrum (maternity care agency) prior to the 12th week of pregnancy so that you can be assured of postpartum care. More recently, most agencies have started to accept registrations at any point during the pregnancy. However, you are strongly advised to register as early as possible with your preferred maternity care agency or so-called ‘kraamzorg agency’. The sooner contact has been made, the more time both parties have to make arrangements and communicate their needs and expectations.
Click here for more information about kraamzorg (in Dutch only). Fill in your postcode for a list of maternity care agencies in your area. Your midwife may also be able to direct you to a preferred agency. You must contact your health insurance provider to ensure your chosen maternity care agency is approved by them.
Families generally receive an average of 45 hours (bottle feeding) or 49 hours (breastfeeding) of care, spread over an eight-day period. The minimum number of hours to which you are entitled is 24 hours. The necessary hours of support that you will require is determined on the basis of the Landelijk Indicatieprotocol Kraamzorg (the National Recommended Protocol for Maternity Care). Your kraamzorgorganisatie (maternity care agency) or kraamverzorgende als zzp’er (independent maternity nurse) will explain this to you during the intake. Depending on your health insurance coverage, the payment that you make can be partially or even wholly covered. There is a statuary eigen bijdrage (own contribution) at a rate of 4.60 euros per hour (in 2021) for kraamzorg at your home. If you decide to receive kraamzorg in a hospital or birthing centre without a medical indication, the cost will be 37 euros per hour. Please check with your health insurance provider for further details regarding what costs are covered.
If you have a non-Dutch healthcare provider, you should get in touch with the kraamzorgorganisatie or kraamverzorgende, as they will be able to tell you more about your situation or contact your insurer on your behalf.
A doula supports women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. This support is practical and emotional, but non-medical in nature, as doulas are not medically trained. Hiring a doula is a relatively new phenomenon in the Netherlands.
The provision of continuous support during labour is associated with improved maternal and foetal health and a variety of other benefits, including lower risk of induction and interventions and less need for pain relief.
A postnatal doula will assist a new mother at home with emotional support as well as physical assistance around the home. After the birth, the doula will visit the couple once or twice to follow up on the birth. Some doulas provide birth hypnosis and other support strategies. All doulas are on call 24 hours a day for their clients and many provide an on-going postnatal support service.
Please note that only a few insurance companies offer to cover the cost of a doula. Visit the official website for doulas at doula.nl