Being pregnant and giving birth in the Netherlands

Although childbirth itself is a universal event and occurs in the same way all over the world, there are many different approaches. Childbirth in the Netherlands is unique in many ways, such as the manner in which birth care is organised. Childbirth in the Netherlands is therefore very different from other countries in Europe, let alone other countries around the world.


In the Netherlands, there is both midwifery and gynaecology care available during your pregnancy. If your pregnancy and the birth are without complications, the midwife will provide the majority of care. If the pregnancy or birth presents any issues or if more specialist care is required, the gynaecologist can step in. In the Netherlands we also make a distinction between university and regional hospitals. University hospitals are better equipped to deal with complicated care compared to regional hospitals. At midwifery practice Breedstraat we have short lines of communication with all hospitals in the region. We can consult easily by emailing or calling a gynecologist from the Diakonessenhuis.

Our practice often provides care to women not accustomed to the Dutch healthcare system. That is why there must always be possibility for change, it is important you are comfortable with the care received.  All our midwives speak English well, so we are used to coaching in English. If either English or Dutch does not suffice, there is the possibility of an interpreter.

In addition to a midwife, you can also hire the services of a Doula. Not necessary for everyone, but some women find this option very helpful.


Home or hospital

In the Netherlands you can choose where to give birth, provided the birth does not encounter any complications. You can choose to either give birth at home or the hospital. This is unique in the Netherlands because in other countries home births are much less common and therefore pose a higher risk. In the Netherlands, the vast majority of people live close to a hospital and we have successful collaboration agreements, which mean that giving birth at the hospital is just as safe as a home birth.  In fact, childbirth at home is slightly safer than in hospital because the need for intervention is less likely. As interventions such as pain relief or inducing labour can result in further complications. So, having options is a good thing!



There is a significant difference in vision regarding childbirth in the Netherlands compared to other countries. Outside of the Netherlands there is a more frequent use of medication and the intervention route is taken more quickly, even if these interventions are not scientifically proven.  Also in other countries pain relief is a more popular option; this may be considered standard care. While here this is a conscious choice, whether this is right or wrong is a matter of opinion.  In the Netherlands you can make your own choices and we are here to support you in those.


Maternity care in the Netherlands

If the birth of your baby did not suffer any complications, you can usually go home after a few hours. In other countries you will often stay in hospital a couple of days. Because of the available maternity care in the Netherlands, a hospital stay is not necessary here. A maternity nurse comes to your home every day for 8-10 days and helps you with the care of the baby. She checks on the wellbeing of both mother and baby. Therefore you have longer access to professional postnatal care than when giving birth abroad. Maternity care is a unique concept which benefits everyone.

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