Around the World Series | Netherlands' Postpartum Traditions

This month, we delve into the postpartum traditions of The Netherlands, shedding light on the significance of embracing diverse cultural practices to offer mothers the essential support they need on their postpartum journey.


In the Netherlands', new mums receive a special kind of help called kraamzorg for the first week or so after giving birth. This is like having a professional maternity nurse, known as a Kraamverzorgende, to assist them. The Dutch believe that after childbirth, mums require time to heal while juggling the non-stop demands of a newborn.


The Kraamverzorgende is there to support the mum in recovery, allowing the mother to be restore themselves, and bond with the baby at home. They take care of the baby's well-being and keep a close eye on the mother’s recovery. They also give helpful tips surrounding motherhood, such as breastfeeding, bathing, and navigating the baby’s sleeping and eating schedule.
Kraamverzorgers are not utilised by the wealthy; they are part of basic health insurance. The costs are usually covered, and sometimes mothers can reimburse the expenses depending on their selected health care plan.
This Dutch approach to postpartum care focuses on giving mothers time to recover, assist with common issues like postpartum depression and struggles with breastfeeding. The idea is that if mums are well taken care of, it can lead to happier mothers and, in turn, happier kids.


Naming Your Child
There are rules for naming your child; it shouldn't be offensive or invite ridicule. The civil servant can reject unsuitable names. Your child can take either the mother or father's surname, but not both. Some unique names have been approved, but it's wise to avoid extremes.
The Placenta
During a home birth in the Netherlands', there's something unique to consider: the placenta. If you're interested in natural and holistic practices, some may suggest consuming the placenta. However, if that doesn't interest you, the midwife will give you the placenta in a plastic bag to dispose of. It's a straightforward process that reflects the practical and respectful approach to childbirth in the Netherlands', letting you focus on enjoying the arrival of your newborn.

Beschuit Met Muisjes
In Holland, when a baby is born, whether you're royalty or just a regular person, it's time to enjoy some special treats called "biscuits with mice." Now, don't worry, there are no real mice involved! The "mice" are actually tiny sugar-covered seeds of aniseed, and they are meant to symbolise fertility.


These biscuits are not just delicious; they are believed to help new mums with important things like breastfeeding, digestion, and easing postnatal cramping. What makes them even more fun is that the seeds are colored differently – blue and white for boys, pink and white for girls, and orange for those special royal births. It's a sweet and symbolic way to welcome new little ones into the world in Holland!

Kraambezoek (Visiting New Mums)
Kraambezoek is a Dutch tradition where people, including your employer, visits the new mother with gifts. Some mothers may prefer privacy during the early days of motherhood, therefore the new mother will disclose visiting hours on their birth announcement card.
Before, During, and After Birth
Midwifery care in the Netherlands' covers the entire pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum journey. Prenatal care involves monitoring pregnant women from confirmation until birth, including an intake and multiple follow-up visits that encompass diagnostic, counseling, and health education activities.
According to the Royal Dutch Organization of Midwives (KNOV) standards, the initial prenatal visit ideally occurs between the 6th and 8th week of pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy, 10 to 16 prenatal visits are recommended, with an average of 13, depending on medical needs and client expectations.
In the first trimester, at least one visit is recommended, followed by 4-6-week intervals in the second trimester. From 24 weeks of gestation onward, the intervals between follow-up visits gradually decrease.
Natal care involves supervising childbirth. Low-risk women may choose to give birth at home, a maternity hotel, a birth center, or an outpatient clinic, always under the care of their primary midwife.
Postnatal care includes supervision for postpartum women and their newborns. It consists of five to six home visits in the first ten to twelve days after birth, with a final follow-up visit at six weeks postpartum.
Apart from primary care midwives, who are the main providers, there are also maternity care assistants involved. Maternity care assistance includes both natal and postnatal care and can vary from assistance during birth followed by 80 hours of postnatal care to a more limited form without assistance during birth and 24 hours of postnatal care. The amount of maternity care one receives is determined by the maternity care agency and the midwife.
During the natal period, maternity care assistants support pregnant women and, if necessary, their partners during labor and birth. In the postnatal period, they are responsible for the well-being of both mother and child, ensuring good hygiene, providing information and instruction to parents, and assisting with household tasks. Additionally, they play a role in the early detection of any abnormalities in mother and child, collaborating with primary care midwives in this responsibility.



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