Dutch Language Blog

Pregnancy and child birth Posted by on Jan 5, 2009 in Dutch Language

I just realized there’s a topic I would really like to discuss. I’ve seen countless movies and TV shows in which a pregnant woman goes into labor, is driven to a hospital at break neck speed (think ‘Nine months’) and delivers the baby in just an hour later or so.

And the delivering mother of course screams for an epidural.

Now, in the Netherlands women also deliver their babies in a hospital, but the practicing doctors (who still make house calls in smaller villages) often stimulate a delivery at home.

As I understand… a child delivery at home is quite rare in America, but it’s more the rule than the exception to the rule in the Netherlands.

Today it’s often a choice made by the mother.

The comfort of all available necessary units in case of an emergency in the hospital versus the comforting and soothing surroundings of your own home.

I myself delivered my two children at home and I’m glad I was able to do this at home.

Of course I also hear wonderful stories about deliveries in the hospital, but there’s just something very personal about a delivery at home.

Okay, once you find out you are pregnant, a woman in the Netherlands informs her doctor of these glad tidings and can make a choice. Either to find a gynecologist of your choice or your personal doctor. I can only tell you how things happen when you choose to deliver your baby at home!

Anyway, from that point on, you are under close observation by the doctor/gynecologist.

This means frequents visits to monitor the weight gain, blood pressure, position of the baby and a sonogram. Sometimes for medical reasons you also get an echogram, in this case the expenses are covered by the insurance company. Otherwise, you can also choose to make an echogram at your own expenses in a later stadium of the pregnancy.

Several services are available for first time mothers, like Lamaze, pregnancy yoga or ‘mensendieck’. I took a Lamaze class during my first pregnancy, but I found out it was more a social gathering with first time mothers than that I really learned something. All the huffing and puffing was a waste of time for me because when you go into labor, you find your own way to cope with the pain.

At the local ‘Care program’ you can get all the necessary items for a home delivery. Like a bed pan, plastic covers to protect the bed (not just for the delivery itself but also in case the water breaks early) and ‘klossen’ these are square wooden objects to raise the bed to comfortable height for the nurse to work at.

For a delivery at home, there are also certain products you have to get yourself (which you would also have to pay for when you deliver the baby in a hospital) such as: ‘kraamverband’

I couldn’t find a proper translation, but these are bandages for the excessive blood loss after the delivery.

You can either ask for an assisting nurse at the local ‘Care program’ or you can choose for someone from a private agency.

The assisting nurse will help during the delivery and take care of mother and child for a certain amount of hours spread over the first eight days after the delivery.

This means that right after the delivery, she makes sure the mother is washed and clothed, the baby gets cleaned and dressed, assists the mother if she chooses to breast feed the baby, in the morning helps the mother get bathed or showered, helps bathe and dress the baby, is there to supply coffee and cake (and of course Dutch brisk with blue or pink sprinkles on top) for visiting family members and friends… and makes sure the most elemental and important housekeeping duties are performed.

I can tell you, it’s a bliss to be pampered in such a way after a delivery!

The Dutch brisk with blue or pink sprinkles is of course a hard to forget tradition! Fathers often give this as a treat to colleagues, big brothers and sisters often treat this to their friends and teachers at school and often it’s the very first treat given to visiting family members and friends.

The doctor also pays a few regular visits to make sure mother and child are doing fine!

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  1. Trying to get pregnant quickly:

    .., if i were to choose i would also want a home delivery… but it is really expensive if you are going to pay for the doctor…

  2. get pregnant:

    If I could get the same treatment I could get as with the hospital at home, I would opt for at home childbirth. Interesting article, thanks for sharing.