The maternity nurse
Every woman has the right to postnatal care in the Netherlands. This is done by a maternity nurse who helps taking care of and observes the health of the new-born. The maternity nurse will also observe the physical and mental health of the mother, provide information (on for example breastfeeding) and answer questions of the parents.
The maternity nurse is a trained medical professional, specialised in postnatal care. The maternity nurse provides the following services:
- Checking the physical and mental health, and taking care of the mother.
- Checking the physical health, and taking care of the baby.
- Provide counselling on taking care of the baby.
- Ensuring hygiene in the house (toilet/bathroom, beds of mother and baby, pacifiers and bottles).
- Observe the mother, baby and rest of the family and acting as a link between the family and midwife/GP.
- Helping with light household duties during her stay to ensure the mother gets sufficient rest.
The exact services that the maternity nurse will be providing can be determined before the birth, as well as the length and frequency of her visits.
Depending on particular circumstances, the hours you are entitled to kraamzorg will vary. The minimum amount of time is 24 hours and the maximum is 80 hours. These are spread out over the first 8-10 days immediately following the birth. Every person in the Netherlands is insured for kraamzorg with their basic health insurance, but there is an eigen bijdrage (deductible excess) per hour. Depending on your additional health insurance, the deductible excess might be partially or completely covered.
Finding a maternity care agency
You will have to choose and register a maternity care agency yourself and preferably register before week 12 of the pregnancy. You can look for one online or find one through your midwife. Either way, you will have to contact your health insurance company to ensure your chosen maternity care agency is approved by them.
The typical Dutch way to celebrate the birth of your child is to announce the birth with a card (geboortekaart) with your baby’s name and details about the birth such as the date, time and the baby’s weight . It is also usual to state on which days and what times you will be receiving visitors. A classic Dutch treat to serve your visitors is beschuit met muisjes (rusks covered with sugared aniseeds) in blue or pink, depending on the gender of your baby.