Normal Birth in The Netherlands

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This year, me and my husband are expecting the arrival our own bundle of joy, a little baby girl, around June 2011. Not sure about the date, though, but surely I will be delivering on the summer, which is good. My mother and hopefully my youngest sister are coming to visit, so no surprising ‘weather shock’ will happen to them (since it will be around 20-ish degree Celcius here).

I moved to The Netherlands in August 2010 and found out about my pregnancy in October 2010. Just like any other pregnant woman do, I went to the doctor. Here’s the difference between what I know in Jakarta (never experienced pregnancy before while living in Jakarta) and what I experienced in Amsterdam.

In Amsterdam, if you have any medical complaints or sickness, you go first to the General Practitioner (GP) or what the Dutch called Huisarts. Then the GP will decide and refer you to other specialist related to your health problem. In my case, they referred me to the Verloskundige. I didn’t know what that was, so I look up on the dictionary and found out that it was a Midwife. I was hesitant to go, because what I know in Jakarta, is that as soon as you the testpack returned positive sign, you go directly to the Obstetricians (Gyneacoloog in Dutch) or Ob/Gyns. The term ‘midwives’ in Jakarta somehow associated with birth in the small village or town, or so I thought.

Here’s the base idea, my family runs two Rumah Bersalin or Maternity Clinic (cmiiw about the english) in Pondok Gede and Ciputat area. So, I do know there are two options for delivering a baby: an Ob/Gyn or a midwife. Somehow, my family always choose the Ob/Gyn, while midwives are somehow never been a choice. Don’t really know why, but I think it’s because many of my family and relatives are doctors, hence the solidarity. I myself was born in a hospital with the help of Ob/Gyns.

So, it’s struck me as a weird thing knowing that in The Netherlands, the common process for pregnancy are checking up your condition to the midwife. There are Ob/Gyns here but they mostly handling your ‘internal problems’ other than giving birth. If they do handle births, it is for high risk pregnancy or the ones with problem such as older mother (35+ year old) or fetus with complications. According to the law, a patient don’t just go to the Ob/Gyn, they have to be referred by the Midwife first. If an Ob/Gyn handle a patient without Midwife’s referral, they could face lawsuit which can cost them their practice license.

Thus I went to the midwife for the check-up. The next finding are the USG or the Echo. Apparently here, the echo was only done twice, more than that is up to the patient, but not recommended. I hear from some friends that in Jakarta, it was done each visit to the Ob/Gyns. I haven’t got to ask this to my own cousin, who is actually an Ob/Gyn-tobe, but my own conclusion is because almost all pregnant women in Jakarta visit the Ob/Gyn, who (probably) is licensed for operating the USG machine.

The most important part is the most popular one. The Netherlands are best known for this, too. That part is home birth. The phrase is exactly what is supposed to say, to do the whole labor process at the comfort of your own home. Just like any midwife-assisted birth, the midwife will come to the patient’s house and bring all her/his complete gadgets to help mothers give birth at home. At their own bed. The best of that part is because midwives are trained for natural birth, they don’t give C-Section and NO EPIDURAL.

The idea of all this is actually good: The Dutch people believe that giving birth is not a disease, thus no need of hospital visit. They also believed that any materials put inside a mother will somehow affect the baby, and that include the epidural liquid. So, the midwife will emphasize more on the au-naturél birthing process. No needles inserted, just mother and nature.

However, according to the law, everything is up to the patient’s wish. If she, say, come from Jakarta where everything is ‘in the hospital’ complete with all kinds of doctors and medical supplies available, thus she prefers to give birth at a hospital, then she will get it. The midwife will help with everything.

Other thing related to labor is the nurse for post-natal. Here they call it the kraamzorg which is translated into post-natal care. The nurses are not within all-in-one package with the midwife nor the doctor. We have to get them ourselves. Check for any available nurse agency and look upon their details and choose. They also need to be contacted at very early stage of pregnancy, around 20 weeks, so the mother will be ensure of services. Otherwise they will be fully booked and nobody will attend to you and your baby. The nurse will do a house-check to see whether all the baby supplies, bed, clothes, etc. are sufficient and good enough. She will also check upon the mother and their newborn for the first week and will do so at regular intervals afterward.

So far that’s my whole knowledge on giving birth in The Netherlands. Apparently, this is also applied for pregnancy and labor in The United Kingdom. Both of the countries put midwives as the main labor assistant for pregnant women. Of course, my checklist will not just stop at labor. I still need to buy baby stuff (especially the maxicosi) and clothes, to find and register my unborn child to a nursery (people here register their children as soon as they know they’re pregnant), apply for insurance, and find a school (later after my child turn 1 or 2, school here start at the age of 4). But that’s another topic to write (^__^)

3 thoughts on “Normal Birth in The Netherlands

  1. Pingback: My Life in NL (2011) « - MissKaNia -

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