Every pregnant woman in the Netherlands has the right to Kraamzorg (postnatal maternity care). Kraamzorg is the term given to the medical service provided to the new mother and her baby. Normally, 49 hours of service is provided over a period of eight days immediately after birth. The kraamverzorgende is the the professional caregiver that comes to your home on a daily basis to deliver this care. The hours of care each mother is entitled to vary and can even change after birth depending on the particular circumstances.
The primary responsibility of the kraamverzorgende is to ensure that the mother’s recovery is quick and efficient, and that the baby develops appropriately.
The care and tasks may include:
- Assisting during a home birth
- Monitoring the health of the mother and her newborn child, acting as a link between the family and the midwife
- Supporting and guiding the mother through the feeding (whether this be breast or bottle feeding)
- Teaching how to recognise the baby’s needs and how to attend to them, instructions in bathing and taking care of their child, physically as well as emotionally
- Ensuring the area in which the mother and baby stay is clean and hygienic
- Helping with light household duties during her stay to ensure the mother gets sufficient rest
- Involving other children at home and helping them to become comfortable with the newborn
It is suggested that you register with a kraamverzorgende prior to the 12th week of pregnancy so that you can be assured of postpartum care for the requested hours.
The exact details of your particular maternity care will normally be determined before the birth. This first (prenatal) home visit will take place at around 34 weeks of the pregnancy. It allows both parties to discuss the expectant mother’s needs and expectations.
It’s adviceable to prepare a list with all your questions.