When you are pregnant you can contact a midwife immediately or you can be referred by your GP. An ultrasound is done early in the pregnancy to see if the pregnancy is viable. The midwife also finds out all relevant information about your medical history and she orders blood tests.
You will be invited to have a consult on a monthly basis at the start, which will rise in frequency when the pregnancy progresses. During those consults the midwife checks your health and the health of the baby. Several ultrasounds are made, including an anomaly scan around 20 weeks. You will be provided with a lot of information to prepare yourself for the delivery and the time after birth.
The Dutch maternity system gives you the option where to deliver. If there are no complications during pregnancy and delivery, you can choose whether you want to deliver in the hospital or at home. In both cases the midwife guides you through the delivery. If there is no compelling medical reason to deliver in the hospital, you do have to check with your insurance company if you have full coverage for that. In the Netherlands medical pain relief during delivery is not standard, but always an option.
After birth or when you return home with your baby, a maternity assistant (‘kraamzorg’) will take care of you and your baby at your home. She does medical checks, she teaches you everything you need to know about taking care of a baby and she does some of your household chores. The maternity assistant comes the first 8 days for several hours a day. You have to check with your insurance company how to arrange the kraamzorg.
After the kraamzorg, the ‘consultatiebureau’ takes over. The consultatiebureau checks the child’s development for the first 4 years and for example gives all the vaccinations