Home Birth in the Netherlands

By Meida van Baal, Doula and Maternity Nurse


The Netherlands still has the highest percentage of home births in the Western world. There are no additional costs to the expectant parents if they deliver at home. However, before that can be done, a midwife must determine if a mother and baby are in good health and remain so during labor and delivery.

The Dutch has always viewed pregnancy as a natural physiological occurrence. They also believe that having a baby and recovery thereafter could best be done in clients’ own familiar environment, where they can feel more relaxed.

Home births are definitely different than hospital births. I attend at least 3 home births and 8 hospital births in a year. The biggest differences are the following benefits:

-You have everything you need at home: You can eat and drink whenever you want, listen to music, take a bath, sit in your favorite chair…you get the picture.

-The partner has more a role at home. He or she can show the midwife and nurse where things are, help collect things for the delivery and help the laboring partner.

-You can concentrate completely on your labor and not worry about getting into a car and going to the hospital.

-You have a lot of privacy and will not have to deal with staff members coming in and out of your laboring space.

-You are more likely to follow your birth plan.

-You can discuss and negotiate with your midwife.

-You have more time to labor and rather than follow a 1 cm per hour rule at the hospital.

-There is less chance of picking up an infection.

These are the benefits, but there are also some drawbacks as well, and I think it’s important to state them here:

-If there is a complication, you might have to go to the hospital after all, and sometimes an ambulance is called.

-Your partner may not stand 100% behind your choice to birth at home. This can cause tension, and steer you away from a home birth.

-Your midwife might be at another birth or is checking on other clients. So she might have to rush to you if your labor is progressing quickly.

I think the biggest worry for expectant parents is having a complication. Do know that the midwife and maternity nurse are trained to deal with complications. The midwife kit is fully equipped. See the video below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=206&v=_XbAks2FWAs Also, a midwife will not take any risks if there are any signs of a complication.

If delivering at home seems a bit scary, you could always stay as long as possible at home before going to the hospital.