Giving birth in the Netherlands

Childbirth in the Netherlands, while the act of giving birth itself is a universal event that happens in the same way all over the world, there are many differences in the way it is approached. Giving birth in the Netherlands is unique in many ways, as is the organisation of maternity care. Giving birth in the Netherlands is different from other countries in Europe, let alone other countries in the world.


In the Netherlands, you can choose to be cared for by both a midwife and a gynaecologist during your pregnancy. If the pregnancy and birth are uncomplicated, the midwife will be responsible and taking care of you and your baby. If there are complications during pregnancy or childbirth, or if you need more specialised care for other reasons, you will be referred to a gynaecologist in of the three hospitals in Utrecht. In the Netherlands, there are university hospitals and regional hospitals. In university hospitals you will receive even more complex care, if necessary, than in a regional hospital.

At Midwifery Practice Breedstraat, we are connected with all the hospitals in the region. A gynaecologist from Diakonessenhuis holds joint consultations with us at the practice every 6-8 weeks. If there is a need for collaboration or if you need additional care for any reason, this can also take place in our practice. We call this ‘clinic on site’.

In addition to a midwife, you can also choose to have a doula present at birth, which is not necessary for everyone but can be comforting for some during this time.

At home or in hospital

If you are giving birth in the Netherlands and your pregnancy is uncomplicated, you can choose where you want to give birth. You can choose to give birth at home or in hospital. This choice is unique in the Netherlands compared with other countries. In other countries, home births are less common and there are more risks involved. In the Netherlands, most people live close to a hospital and we have good cooperation agreements, so giving birth in hospital is just as safe as giving birth at home. In fact, giving birth at home is slightly safer than giving birth in hospital because there is less chance of interventions. Interventions such as pain relief or induction can lead to other complications. This freedom of choice is highly valued!


There is a real difference in attitudes towards childbirth in the Netherlands compared to other countries. Outside the Netherlands, there is often more medicalisation, with quicker interventions, even if they are not scientifically supported. There is also a greater tendency to opt for pain relief, whereas here it is a conscious choice and sometimes considered standard care abroad. Whether this is right or wrong is a personal choice for each individual. That’s why it’s great that in the Netherlands you can make your own choices, and we support you in doing so.

Postnatal care in the Netherlands

If your delivery goes well, you can usually go home within a few hours. In other countries, you often stay in hospital for several days. The reason why this is not necessary in the Netherlands is because of postnatal care. A maternity nurse will come to your home for 8-10 days to check on the mother and baby and help with their care. She checks with both mother and child whether everything is going well. In essence, you receive professional care for a much longer period after the birth than if you were to give birth abroad. Postnatal care is a unique concept that everyone is very happy with.

Have you already chosen a midwifery practice in Utrecht? No? Be sure to register with us via our registration form, which you can find here: Registration form.