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Has anyone given birth in Holland? Terrified! Mediaeval....

(9 Posts)
Gemzooks Mon 15-Sep-08 13:41:36

Am only 12 weeks with DC 2 , but never too soon to worry about these things.

I say 'can I get the epidural?', mw says 'we don't approve of it and it's never guaranteed because hospitals don't always rule it's 'necessary'. why don't you want a home birth?

I say 'I was strep b pos in last preg, do I get antibiotics during labour'

She says 'oh no, we don't test for that, too many antibiotics are bad.

In short, they are all very pro-natural and 30% are born at home. However, the midwives say they only come and stay with you once you're 7 cm dilated.

Now I had 30 hr labour with epi for DS1 and chances are it will go quicker this time, but I'm feeling quite panicked at the moment.. Of course I want to try without epi, but what if I really need it?

has anyone given birth in the Netherlands and can advise?

lotuseener Mon 15-Sep-08 14:52:09

I can't help you, but the thought of giving birth in the Netherlands terrifies the hell out of me too. DH may have a job there next year, and we are ttc #2. My labour was 31 hours and I have 2 uterus and 2 cervix. I had an epidural and almost had to have an emergency section. DS was whisked to special care for 1 week after birth, too.

Fwiw, my lovely Dutch friend who lives in the UK, was gutted to not be home in Amsterdam for the birth of her son. She was much more comfrtable with the Dutch system and finds the UK system too clinical.

SixSpotBurnet Mon 15-Sep-08 15:01:06

I had a Dutch midwife deliver DS3 in hospital here in London and she was fantastic. She was completely non-fazed by my insistence on not having a managed third stage. I'd be very happy to have a baby there (not that I'm going to be having any more, but in theory, anyway!).

debliz5 Wed 17-Sep-08 13:22:29

I've been living in the Netherlands for 5 years now and have had my 3 children here. I fully understand your fears and the impression that it's a bit medieval like.

I came here when I was 9 months pregnant with DD1 after having all the tests in the world done (in Israel), and I did find it so very primitive when the midwife measured by belly with a meter and used her hands instead of an ultrasound to check the baby.

Since my DD was breech and so was my DS after her, I had 2 c-sections here.

I have learned that the attitude here towards pregnancy and birth is a natural one. They believe that pregnancy and birth are natural procedures and should have as little intervention as possible. They hardly do tests. But they do the tests that could indicate a problem, such as bp every month and a scan at 20 weeks.
One can have additional tests done but they are not covered by your insurance.

I have also learned to appreciate this approach. Since they don't have many tests done, they incourage you to "listen" to your body and call if you feel something is not right.

Thanks to me living here and not somewhere else, I was given the opportunity to have a vba2c which would not have been given to me in Israel, and from what I read here, not always in the UK. My VB was fantastic and I got very good care and now I have another beautiful 3 week year old DD!!! So, at the moment, I'm really in favour of the Dutch system...

A lot of the women here who give birth in hospital don't get epidural, because they don't ask for it. But you can definitely HAVE epidural. You just have to order for it in advance. Make sure you order it for ALL hours of the day, i.e. also for the night. I went into labour at night and asked for my epidural and they told me I couldn't have it as I didn't specify I wanted it at night too ...??? (does it hurt less at night???)

So, don't worry about it - you won't be forced to give birth without epidural if you talk about it beforehand. My friends here had epidural.

Good luck! and Have a fantastic pregnancy and birth!!!

janinlondon Wed 17-Sep-08 13:33:40

This paper seems to suggest that there IS a policy to test for GBS in pregnancy. Perhaps your midwife is uninformed? Do you get a chance to see another one?

[Prevention of neonatal infection with group B streptococci: what the best strategy is remains unclear][Article in Dutch]

Wouters MG.
VU Medisch Centrum, afd. Verloskunde en Gynaecologie, Postbus 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam.

Early-onset group B streptococcal disease (GBS disease) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in newborn infants. There is no international agreement on the best strategy for selecting pregnant women for antibiotic prophylaxis during delivery in order to reduce the incidence of this disease. A cost-effectiveness study of 4 strategies using a theoretical model showed that the risk strategy (antibiotics for women at risk) and combination strategy (antibiotics for GBS-positive women at risk) seemed more cost-effective than the current Dutch strategy (antibiotics for women at risk ifGBS positive) and the screening strategy (antibiotics for GBS-positive women).

foxytocin Wed 17-Sep-08 13:36:55

There is a book called Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Buy it, read it. It will calm you and surprise you in many ways.

Holland's childbirth care and system ranks better than that of the US and UK to name just two places. Ina May will give you good insight on why this is so.

Zazette Wed 17-Sep-08 13:44:42

No experience of the Dutch system, but just wanted to ask: have you considered that your epidural might have prolonged your first labour? they can slow things down. may not be the best kind of pain relief for you.

Gemzooks Wed 17-Sep-08 14:12:22


thanks for responses!

Debliz5, glad you were able to have your vbac and congrats! I have identified a hospital in Amsterdam that has epidural 24 hours, and will talk about it with the midwife (she knows I'm very nervous).

Zazette, I had a v v long labour, contractions from Weds afternoon, waters broke Friday night, very slow progress on the Sat, so by Sat afternoon they said 'right; you have to have synotocin' and that was when I said 'well, I'm having the blumming epidural then', as no way did I want to face those speeded up contractions without it. The synotocin worked quickly and I gave birth no probs about 4 hours later. It was a low dose epi so still had quite a lot of pain but at least I could push etc. Not a bad birth but so bloody long. I coudl have stood it if hadn't missed the 2 nights sleep already.

That's another fear, I heard they don't have the low dose ones in Holland. Um, can you tell I've done too much research on this!!

Foxytocin (love your name!), have read Ina May, and think a lot of it is totally right. However, I had such a bloody long marathon labour the first time that I needed the epidural. If things went a bit quicker I would of course rather not have it. TENS machine was great, for example. I would be surprised if the second birth took quite as long, I really had the impression that my body didn't really grasp the enormity of what it had to do, whereas the second time round I feel a bit more confident that at least I've done it before.

A lot of it is also just the foreignness. I had DS in Belgium (as was working in Kazakhstan and didn't want to risk that), and it was very medicalised but very good care after birth and the hospital provided absolutely everything including baby clothes, round the clock breastfeeding help etc. Holland has its own ways, and they have a strong tradition of home birth etc, but whilst that's great for those who choose, I feel very strongly about choice and pain relief. You can encourage women away from epidurals and make the birth atmosphere natural and nice etc, but here there is really an attitude of 'you should jolly well suffer because it's what nature intended', and for me that becomes a human rights issue, to deny someone adequate pain relief which is safe and available. It's all about giving the woman the choice without moral judgements etc..

Oh dear!

Gemzooks Wed 17-Sep-08 14:16:13

janinlondon, will ask again about strep b. Basically, she said that if I got a bladder infection, I would be tested for strep b, and if positive, would get antibiotics in labour. But wouldn't be automatically tested.
Having read up on it, I think I'll just take my chances, as it's not great for you being on antibiotics in labour either..

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