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Pregnant in the Netherlands. Anyone else?

(22 Posts)
Engelsemeisje Mon 14-Feb-11 10:00:37

Hi all, I'm new to MN. Have lived here in the Netherlands since 2007 with my Dutch partner and I'm now 5 weeks pregnant with our first child. Just wondered if there were any other MNers out there in Dutchland.

HettyAmaretti Mon 14-Feb-11 10:16:52

I'm here too, have been for just over 7 years. I'm not pregnant ATM but had both DC here, it's a great place to have children. The maternity services are great, not to mention the thuiszorg after the birth.

Engelsemeisje Mon 14-Feb-11 10:44:41

Nice to meet you HettyAmaretti. Whereabouts in NL are you?

Since this is our first can't compare with the UK, but everything I've heard from friends here, especially the thuiszorg, sounds great! Not sure about the whole giving birth at home though. We have a great hospital right on our doorstep so think that's the way we're going to go. Early days for us. Haven't been to our GP yet as am only 5 weeks and had a MC at 5 weeks in December. Going to give it one more week to be safe.

Am a bit nervous about having to do everything in Dutch!

HettyAmaretti Mon 14-Feb-11 11:57:53

Will, PM you where I am, prefer not to put it on the boards wink

Don't worry about having to do everything in Dutch, all the HCPs I've dealt with are very keen to speak English. I had to specifically request Dutch all the bloody time.

The usual advice here is to book for a home birth, but you're free to transfer to hospital at any time. IIRC a pre-booked non medically indicated hospital birth (poliklinisch bevallen) is quite expensive but if you transfer from a 'planned' home birth at any point then the costs are covered. Mind you, it may vary between insurance providers. However, whatever you choose you have your own MW with you at all times. Oh, and you can go to any midwifery practice you like, it doesn't have to be the nearest or anything.

The system is very different to the system at home, although I've no direct experience of it I've read a lot about it on here and heard a lot from friends. Most of the things a lot of women spend their pregnancies fighting for in the UK (home birth, constant support from the same midwife, no medically unnecessary intervention done for the convenience of HCPs, etc.) are much easier to achieve here.

Coming from a British background it can seem quite odd.

HettyAmaretti Mon 14-Feb-11 12:01:49

Oh, you're new! Welcome!

PM = private message, look at the envolpe icon at the top of the page

HCP = health care professionals

IIRC = if I remember correctly

MW = midwife

Acronym list ishere

Engelsemeisje Mon 14-Feb-11 18:03:01

Thanks a lot for your advice and info. I didn't realise that you had to pay for giving birth in the hospital - am starting to wonder exactly why I pay my health insurance in the first place!

Yep, the acronyms are taking some getting used to!

In my neck of the woods no one seems to want to speak to me in English (which for the first month was terrifying, but in the long run has been a good thing) but everytime I go to Amsterdam, Utrecht or Den Haag I only have to open my mouth and they start talking in English. Really annoying!

HettyAmaretti Mon 14-Feb-11 19:04:42

Well, you see (practically) all medically necessary costs are covered.

In the case of birth it's proven that in a low risk pregnancy it's safer for both mother and child to have a home birth. Honestly it is. Where there is a medical reason for hospital birth the costs are covered.

Choosing a hospital birth where not medically necessary is a different kettle of fish. In the same way, you'd be covered for breast reconstruction but not for a cosmetic boob job. That could be something one might really want but isn't medically necessary or the optimum thing to do for ones health. Your insurer will be able to explain exactly what they cover, it does vary from insurer to insurer and package to package.

The thing is, if you book for a home birth and then have the MW transfer you to hospital then AFAIK, you have a medical indication and are covered by insurance. 'Discovering' during the early stages of labour that you want / need, for example, stronger pain relief than is available at home is a medical indication of requiring a hospital birth. Basically, it's a formality.

It's something you'll need to discuss with you MW, but as a general rule it's a loophole they're happy to exploit in the best interests of their patients. It wouldn't mean going in any later than you would in the UK anyway and you already said that you're really close to the hospital.

Depending on your income you might be entitled to Zorgtoeslag from the belastingdienst. But that's a general thing, not specifically birth related. A lot of people don't know about it.

I'm intrigued as to where you are, I used to live in Brabant and found them just as over keen to speak English as here. Most annoying indeed, I just used to steamroller through with my (then) awful Dutch grin.

Engels meisje / Engelse meisjes, I think confused. You must be expecting a girl!!

Engelsemeisje Mon 14-Feb-11 19:20:52

Damn Dutch language is always tripping me up!

Will PM you my location.

In the first few months here there were so many people who just refused to speak English to me - at the town hall, bus drivers, setting up my bank account - most of the time they just ignored me and spoke directly to my boyfriend (which is how the silly bank lady ended up putting the wrong initials on my pinpas!). My FiL doesn's speak any English and my Dutch is now better than my MiL so I always speak with them in Dutch I need the practice though as I speak English with my DP and English 95% of the time at work (well, 100% with students, 95% with colleagues).

Thanks for all your help...I'm sure as things progress I'll be asking more!

HettyAmaretti Mon 14-Feb-11 19:43:44

Lol. I've been here for a good while, done loads of translation work and still the damn language trips me up. De of het? Dammed if I know.

Then there was the time I called the insurance when first pregnant with DC1, to find out what was covered for. "Ik ben zwanger en wil graag weten of ik goed gedekt bent". Correct, but the horrendous double entendre totally escaped me. DP nearly died laughing blush

Good luck with everything. Feel free to PM me if I can help with anything later along the line!

SnapFrakkleAndPop Tue 15-Feb-11 04:45:18

Ohhh I am extremely jealous of you being in NL. I would live to be there to give birth as the maternity system (IME as an outsider not someone actually giving birth) is fab. I'm now expecting my 1st (due in April) and have pretty much resigned myself to having baby here!

Good luck with everything!

Undutchable Tue 15-Feb-11 13:49:43

Waves Am here! Have had 2 children since being here (though one was in the UK by accident) - both within last 3 years!

Katiepoes Tue 15-Feb-11 14:48:40

I'm here too. My baby was born last year, we had planned a home birth but at 37 weeks my blood pressure went mad so I had to go to the hospital. I loved the system here, the midwifes were great and I felt listened to.

My insurance covered all of it, it would have covered the hospital too even if not medically indicated - it even covered the small charge you pay for the kraamhulp.

Do you speak any Dutch? I have a book about deciding between home/hospital if you'd like it.

Undutchable Tue 15-Feb-11 22:47:03

snap It is brilliant, though when things went wrong with Ds2 I was happy to be "at home" in England. Ds1 was born in the netherlands, also in hospital as I had high BP, and it was a wonderful experience, as was the kraamzorg.

Had planned a home birth for DS2 but sadly it wasn't meant to be. I ended up having the total opposite - an emergency c-section under a GA!

But the midwives were bloody marvellous. When I finally got back to NL after DS2 the main one came over to see how we were, and even cried when I told her what had happened. Lovely people. (We're all fine by the way).

Everyone speaks to me in English, but that's because my Dutch is so poor. blush

SnapFrakkleAndPop Wed 16-Feb-11 09:44:30

I wouldn't mind being in England either. At least hb's are allowed!

Mind you given the current situation I'm an automatic CS anywhere!

Engelsmeisje Wed 16-Feb-11 17:42:24

Thanks for all your advice ladies. It's nice to know that there are other people out there who've been through the same thing!

If everything goes well we're going to see our doctor next week and get our MW sorted. We didn't want to jump the gun because we're nervous about MCing again.

Katiepoes I can speak Dutch so that would be great, though is it something that the MW/Doctor would give to me anyway?

Undutchable I really try and speak Dutch whenever I can since I speak English all day long (I teach English and Drama in a TTO school)Everyone here gives me such a hard time about not speaking Dutch at home - they don't understand that having started our relationship in English I can't see us ever having a bilingual relationship!

SnapFrackleandPop cb? CS? Still getting there with the acronyms!

HettyAmaretti Wed 16-Feb-11 17:48:57

DP and I started our relationship in English too, at a certain point I had to force him to speak Dutch to me.

At first I used to wear a little dutch flag (found stuck into a cube of cheese at a party) on a string round my neck for a couple of hours in the evening and would only speak when addressed in Dutch. A few months later we went to France for a few weeks and made the permanent switch. Being away really helped, somehow.

It was worth the effort.

Katiepoes Wed 16-Feb-11 18:12:46

No they don't, my MIL bought it for me - I'll send it on if you PM me. I'm not a scary stalker honest!

I speak English almost the time - at work and with DP, every so often I decide we're going to speak Dutch but it always goes wrong. Now we have DD I want her to speak both, so I speak English and he speaks Dutch. It's a mess but seems to work! With his family it's Dutch and now I stand my ground when people in shops etc speak English.

Engelsmeisje Wed 16-Feb-11 18:26:41

Katiepoes will PM you. Very kind. Am planning on doing that with my own kids too. My mil said to me, "Yes, but of course when you have children you'll both speak Dutch to them." Why on earth would I want to do that?!

I get so annoyed when people in shops just speak to me in English - doesn't happen very much down here though.
What annoys me even more is my fil, who cannot speak a word of English, tries to "help" me when I'm looking for a word by shouting random dutch words at me without listening to what I'm saying!

HettyAmaretti The only time DP and I speak in Dutch when we're "alone" is when we're in England. I quite like it when no one around us can understand what we're saying, though have to remember when we get back to Dutchland that here it's not the case! Was quiet handy when we went to Asia a few years ago to discuss prices of tours and hotels and stuff so we could negotiate.

SnapFrakkleAndPop Thu 17-Feb-11 07:14:17

Hb - homebirth
CS - caesarean section

DH and I don't speak French, despite living in a French speaking environment. I also speak English pretty much all day (my students hate me, I make them speak it at all times to me but it works!) but my reasoning is we're more likely to be in a French speaking environment so to up the English exposure the DC get French from DH and the community and English from communication between us and me.

AlpinePony Fri 18-Feb-11 12:12:32

I'm here and had a baby last summer here. The care was amazing compared to the stories I've read on mn of "care" in the UK.

I had a Hb planned but in the end was admitted at 35+3 with severe pre-eclampsia and I ended up with an emcs.

I only found a couple of nurses didn't speak "much" english. Tbh I'm "bijna vloeiend", but because I was so ill I just couldn't be arsed. blush

I was cared for brilliantly including when my son was put in the SCBU (special care baby unit) the nurses took me up to visit him any time night or day by pushing my bed because obviously I couldn't walk.

The hospital even gave us a "free parking pass" to get out of the hospital carpark because obviously if we'd had to leave the car there for 6 weeks the bill would've been ridiculous!

The kraamzorg was amazing - on the first day I just wanted them to fuck off out of my house - but by the end of the week I asked them to stay two more days and because I'd been ill it was easily arranged. Obviously I had to pay a bit - I think in the end I had to pay 130 euros out of my own pocket. Pfff! peanuts!

Engelsmeisje Mon 21-Nov-11 07:27:10

Thanks to everyone who offered me advice and info.

Just an update to say that we had a little boy on the 15th October.

Super quick labour, amazing care both at the geboortehuis and at home from the kraamzorg.

Thanks again MNetters!

n0ne Sun 18-Nov-12 12:42:13

Hi everyone, new member!

I'm having my first baby in the Netherlands (Noord Brabant) and my Dutch is passable at best. Having never had a baby before, let alone in a foreign country, I'm a bit lost, tbh. confused I'd be ever so grateful for some support from people who've gone through it themselves.

One specific question: I know the norm here seems to be no pain relief and I'd like to go down that route if possible, but I've heard amazing things about water births. Is that even an option here? I'm going to be birthing in a hospital, btw.

Many thanks!

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