Post-natal Care in the Netherlands
Find out about post-natal care for you and your newborn baby...
Immediately after birth, whether a child is born at home or in hospital, a post-natal in-home care service called kraamzorg begins. This has to be booked during pregnancy as there are a number of providers and choosing one may take time. There is also an intake interview.
Kraamzorg allows that for a period of up to eight days a postnatal care nurse (kraamvezorgster) comes to the home to help. The kraamverzorgster is dedicated to the new mother and baby and therefore is not required to make general household meals or undertake heavy housework. Instead, service providers will help a new mother and baby with the breastfeeding process (if relevant), show both parents how to change diapers, wash their newborn, offer advice on all aspects of newborn care if needed, distract young children if mum needs a rest, help a new father with ways to take care of his partner, his new baby and himself. He or she will also provide a gentle buffer between the new mother and visiting well-wishers.
The midwife who attended the birth (or one of her colleagues) will visit regularly to oversee the health of the mother and handle small medical procedures like removing stitches if required.
One to two weeks after the birth a district nurse from the Child Health Clinic (Consultatiebureau) visits the new mother and baby at home. The nurse conducts the heal prick test, in which a spot of blood from the baby's heel is dabbed on a card as part of a routine test for various ailments.
He or she speaks with the new parents and the kraamverzorgster to monitor care and feeding and makes an appointment for the first visit to the Well Baby Clinic. The nurse also makes sure the mother has a record book to record her baby’s development, vaccinations and medical events.
The "Green Book"
After birth, parents are given a document called "the green book" in which to record the growth of the child, the vaccinations received and other health information regarding the baby.
Well-baby Clinic (Consultatiebureau)
From birth until about the age of four, routine check-ups (health, vaccinations, cognitive and motor development) are carried out by the consultatiebureau. From that age onwards, routine health care is taken over by the Municipal Health Services (GGD) and motor and cognitive development by the school doctor. For any other health issues, visit the family doctor (huisart).
The Vitamin K shot is not routinely offered in the Netherlands. Vitamins K and D are administered to babies by their parents in the form of oral drops, over 12 weeks and 3 years respectively. The first vaccines are given between 6 and 9 weeks and from then on the child enters the current vaccine schedule up to 12 years of age when the final HPV vaccines are administered. Vaccines are free unless a parent chooses to selectively vaccinate, in which case all vaccines must be privately purchased and administered by the family doctor. Delayed vaccination is possible but only up until the child's second birthday. Once the first shot is administered, subsequent vaccines must be given on the normal schedule or parents forfeit the right to free vaccinations for their child.
- More information on the vaccination programme for children in the Netherlands is available in English on the Dutch government website
Pregnant women may join their local Stichting Thuiszorg or the Cross Organisation (Kruisvereniging) for pre- and post-natal services. In each community these organisations offer exercise classes, baby equipment rental, nursing help at home, special beds and lifting devices.