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Pregnancy and birth

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As soon as you think you are pregnant, you should visit your general practitioner. Your family doctor can give you guidance and tell you about all the services provided.

Read more about pregnancy and giving birth in the Netherlands. On the website of the IWCN you can find and overview of the important steps to take when you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and in doubt what to do, you can find more information and help on Sense.

Finding a midwife

One of the first important things to do when you are pregnant is to find a midwife. The costs of a midwife are covered by your basic insurance policy. You can find all the information you need about the Dutch maternity and midwifery system on the site ‘Dutch Midwifery’.


When it comes to giving birth, you can choose between a home birth and a hospital birth. Home births are quite common in the Netherlands: around one-third of women give birth to their child at home. If you prefer a hospital birth, you can arrange this with your midwife.

It is always important to check your insurance policy to see what is covered for you. Read more about the differences between home birth and hospital birth.

Pain medication

In the Netherlands, pain medication (e.g. an epidural) is not a standard part of childbirth. However, it is possible to get pain relief medication on request

Maternity care

In the Netherlands, new mothers can get help from a maternity nurse after giving birth. You have to register for one before your fourth month of pregnancy. The maternity nurse will come to your home and will assist you with everything related to your newborn. Often a big part or all the costs are covered by your health insurance. Make sure to check this in advance.

Maternity leave

In the Netherlands you are entitled to 16 weeks paid maternity leave. Your partner has the right to five days paternity leave. Both of you may take more partially paid and unpaid parental leave.