Pregnant in Brussels

(22 Posts)
Peregrin Wed 30-Jan-13 22:05:28

Hello everyone! I hope it is ok if I poke my head in here uninvited. I usually lurk on forums for months on end before making a peep, but I am newly pregnant with my first child abroad and in need of some community.

My mere 24 hours of having lurked here indicates that that there are several Mumsnet members in Brussels. Would you mind very much if I asked a few questions?

It would be great to hear what you think of the Antenatal and Baby service that is run by a British midwife at the Schuman Medical Practice. Are these courses comparable to the Brussels Childbirth Trust? I don't have a car and I work very long hours so I could get to the Schuman area easier by public transport. Also, is either of these courses recommended over just reading the Brussels Baby Book by Nina Peacock?

My other main question at the moment is whether it is sensible to engage a midwife if I know that I will need a C-section. I cannot give birth naturally for medical reasons. To be quite honest I have no clue what the midwife would do if we have to attend sessions with an obstetrician anyway. I have poked around on the Zwanger in Brussels and the Antenatal and Baby sites and most of this seems to be focused on preparing women for labour.

My GP suggested that I discuss my concerns with a midwife, and otherwise told me to eat well and keep up whatever exercise I am doing (35 partially refundable euros well spent). The midwife I contacted in turn suggested that I book her course or an appointment. Before dedicating all my spare time and money to scraping together the information I need morsel by morsel, I would be really grateful if you could offer some input!

Sorry for the length of this post, and for butting in with all these questions. I will behave from now on!

OP’s posts: |
Yika Wed 30-Jan-13 22:09:21

Hi! Can't answer any of your questions though I share your doctor smile Don't know anything about midwives.

So im just poking my nose in to say that i did the BCT course and thought it was fab. In my group we lift shared - there were several car-less people coming from central Brussels.

natation Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:19

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Peregrin Thu 31-Jan-13 16:29:55

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OP’s posts: |
natation Thu 31-Jan-13 16:57:24

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rushingrachel Thu 31-Jan-13 17:04:18

Peregrin if you are thinking of going to St Luc I thoroughly recommend Dr Graham Hutchings. Not just because he is British but because he is calm, patient and supportive. I had both my kids in Brussels and the second at St Luc (he is now 2) and it was a great all around experience. I know another mnetter who was very happy with him. If you go that route though you won't really have anything to do with midwives and GPs. I liked the fact it was all dealt with in one place with minimal fuss and one lovely medic in charge, but that of course was personal preference.

I went to BCT classes during latter stages of first pregnancy and they were nice and helpful and met other expectant mums which was lovely, but IMVHO they were long. BCT also does a pregnancy in Belgium introductory session which I also went to first time around which was just one evening and that was helpful.

I also went to lovely pregnancy yoga classes if your French is up to it.

natation Thu 31-Jan-13 17:29:19

I would certainly at least do a pregnancy in Belgium in class, with whichever provider you choose. You would hopefully learn you can get a prescription for pre and post pregnancy kine (physiotherapy) refundable by your mutuelle.

You should find out that, depending on mutuelle, you'll get a birth premium of over 1000 euro, plus child benefit of just over 100 euro a month for a first child.

You should also learn that you can also reduce any costs by not choosing a hospital like Edith Cavell with a private room, apparently the most expensive place to give birth if you wish a private room in Brussels. If you are a high risk pregnancy, going for somewhere like St Luc makes sense anyway, as it's near to home and a teaching hospital, you won't get better expertise.

There are loads of little pieces of information like this you'll find out about by attending a pregnancy in Belgium session.


sayanything Fri 01-Feb-13 16:44:20

Hello Peregin and congratulations. Another Brussels MN here. Both my DS were born in Belgium and I couldn't be happier with the level of care we received. DS1 was born in Erasme (which is out in Anderlecht) and DS2 in Ixelles. I was very happy with Erasme - which is also a teaching hospital, like St Luc -, but in Belgium you tend to follow your OB wherever they are accredited and mine decided that she preferred Ixelles as it was closer to her house (so useful for the early-morning calls she got with both of mine). I got fantastic BF support in both, as well.

I attended the BCT courses (the multiple-session one) and found them useful, as I was clueless before having DS1. Our instructor was lovely and I found that the BCT is more resigned to the fact that the NCT holy grail of an all-natural birth is not so prevalent in Belgium (in my group, we were almost all induced and all had epidurals). It was great for meeting people, but it would have been tough without a car as most of the sessions were held at the instructor's house in Tervuren.The fee wasn't refundable by my mutuelle, but I work for one of the EU institutions and our entitlements are a bit different.

Tbh, I don't know what a midwife would do. From my experience, you get OB-led care here. I saw my gynae at her practice throughout my pregnancy and when the time came, I turned up at the hospital, I was taken care of by the (lovely) hospital midwives who rang my gynae and she delivered my baby. If you're having a CS, I'd think there's even less for a midwife to do.

Best of luck with your pregnancy!

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 16:59:34

I believe all the BCT courses are now held at the room in Imagine in Wezembeek-Oppem next to Ter Meeren 39 stop.

Midwifery care is definitely the minority choice here. There are few hospitals in Brussels which allow independent midwives to deliver, Ste Elisabeth is one I believe, so even if you choose this route, your own midwife is shut out of the actual birth in most hospitals.

sayanything Fri 01-Feb-13 17:09:32

Thanks for the correction natation, it's been a while since I did my BCT course.

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 17:27:29

Peregrin, there is a highly informative discussion going on on this website about the financial benefits of pregnancy which are apparently hardly hit upon in the BCT courses.

Peregrin Fri 01-Feb-13 20:50:55

Thank you so much for all the advice and well-wishes!
I have emailed Dr Hutchings to ask for an appointment. I am also looking at your link, natation. Lots of useful info there.

OP’s posts: |
Peregrin Tue 05-Mar-13 21:32:23

Hello! Just wanted to report back that I have had my first appointment at St Luc. Everything has gone well so far - the staff have been approachable and friendly, except the grumpy receptionists. Dr Hutchings has been super helpful. But after the positive recommendations the only surprise was how young and easy on the eye he is ;)

OP’s posts: |
Portofino Wed 06-Mar-13 08:48:18

<<gets broody>> grin

rushingrachel Wed 06-Mar-13 17:28:11

Good to hear it is going well. You are in great hands with Dr Hutchings. I had a first child (not at St Luc) with severe immunity problems and a second pregnancy that didn't have a good outcome. So looking back I was pretty much hysterical with fear the whole time I saw Dr Hutchings. And he always treated me so kindly and carefully and never once made me feel like a head case. I also had a lovely delivery and very good postnatal care from St Luc. I was so glad I went there. Good luck with it all.

Longtime Thu 07-Mar-13 16:29:11

Peregrin, are you on Facebook? As natation said, we do have a spreadsheet of Benelux mumsnetters which I can put you on (you can then use it to find other mums in your area/similar age children etc and I use it to contact people re gettogethers) but the Facebook (secret) group is more active. Just send me a pm and let me know if you'd like to do either (or both).

lovesbf Wed 13-Mar-13 12:40:10

Hi Peregrin. Dr Hutchings is a brilliant gynaecologist, well done you for finding him. With regard to the maize of administration that goes with any pregnancy here in Belgium, keep going, one thread leads to another... The Belgium system offers excellent health care and if the care is given to you by recognised professionals (INAMI), reimbursements are possible, you just need to find out what yours are! Good luck, and I am sure that you will have a great birth experience under the care of Dr H.

Angielka Thu 14-Mar-13 11:28:51

Another Dr Hutchings fan here - both DDs born at St Luc and overall happy with our experiences. Good luck Peregrin

Longtime can anyone be added to your spreadsheet and fb group? [waves hopefully]

Longtime Thu 14-Mar-13 11:41:49

Absolutely (well, anyone who's a mumsnetter and lives in the Benelux ;-) ) - just send me a pm with your e-mail address/fb page name and I will add you!

lovesbf Fri 15-Mar-13 06:17:30

Hi Peregrin. I would suggest that you contact Antenatal and baby, Zwanger midwives and the BCT to find out what each can offer you by way of preparation and perinatal clinical support. You can then make an informed choice based on your findings.

Peregrin Wed 20-Mar-13 21:33:39

Thank you very much, Longtime! natation has actually added me to the Facebook group but I have kept a low profile as a) I currently seem to be working 24/7 (no I am not an ambulance driver) and b) have been hiding the pregnancy at work and didn't want to leave traces. I am coming out this week so I should go and curtsy to the Facebook group too.

lovesbf and Angielka, good to hear about your experiences! And thank you for the good advice.

OP’s posts: |
siobhan110 Tue 19-Nov-13 14:40:45

I realise this thread is from a while back, but in case people with similar questions stumble on it, I just wanted to let you know about a new English-language website which is essentially an online guide to pregnancy, birth and early parenthood in Belgium.

It aims to help newly pregnant mums/couples navigate the Belgian system, from pregnancy, right through to after the birth. It also has lots of useful information about activities to do with babies and young children in Brussels and the surrounding areas.

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