Maternity care: Everything about arranging

Maternity care: Everything about arranging

August 22, 2021 Off By Rob Prosser

You are entitled to maternity care after the birth of your baby. But how exactly do you arrange this? And what can you expect from the maternity nurse? Everything about arranging maternity care.

What is maternity care?

Nowhere else will you have a personal maternity nurse in your home for the first few days after the birth, who will support you and help you take care of your baby.

During the maternity period, the maternity nurse checks the health of you and your baby. She will take your temperature, check your stitches and check the amount of blood loss. She also helps you shower and dress if necessary. 

The maternity nurse also checks your baby: she weighs him, monitors his temperature, and checks whether he is drinking, pooping, and urinating properly. She keeps all the data in a file. If there seems to be something wrong with your child, she will call the midwife or doctor.

The maternity nurse will also help you with the care of your baby. Everything is still new, especially with a first child: she, therefore, shows you how to wash a baby, change it and help you with (breast) feeding. She also provides information on matters such as home safety, cot death, allergies, and de- pregnancy. In addition, she is a sympathetic ear: you don’t have to be big with her, she has already seen those maternity tears with many other new mothers.

Household chores

The maternity nurse also does some light household tasks, but mainly tasks related to hygiene in the house. Think of cleaning the toilet and bathroom, changing your bed, and vacuuming the bedroom.

In consultation, the maternity nurse can also do other household tasks and help with the care of older children. Read more about the duties of a maternity nurse here.

How long will you receive maternity care?

This care is covered by basic insurance. How many hours of maternity care you receive depends on your situation.

  • The legal minimum is twenty-four hours, spread over eight days.
  • The standard is based on forty-nine hours of maternity care (if you are breast-feeding), spread over eight days.
  • If you do not breastfeed, but formula feed, you will usually receive forty-five hours of maternity care, spread over eight days.
  • The maximum number of hours of maternity care is eighty hours.

More or less than forty-nine hours

So by default, it is forty-nine hours in a period of eight days. That is an average of six hours a day. In consultation with the maternity nurse, you determine how you will divide those hours over eight days. She usually stays a bit longer the first few days and only comes half days in the end. In this way, you can slowly get used to the idea that you should be able to do it yourself after the maternity week.

The number of hours of maternity care decreases if you give birth in hospital and then have to stay in hospital. The days you were in hospital are deducted from the number of hours of maternity care. You surrender six hours of maternity care for one day in the hospital. The day you return home does not count as a hospital day.

But you can also get more maternity care than the standard forty-nine hours. In principle, more hours are only allocated if there is a good reason for this. This can already be determined during the intake interview, but the number of hours can also be extended during the maternity period. This is done in consultation with the maternity office and the midwife. Possible reasons for extending maternity care are:

  • complications  during childbirth
  • baby start-up problems
  • if you don’t recover fast enough
  • maternity period with twins or multiples
  • if you are a single mom
  • failure to start breastfeeding

Indication for number of hours of maternity care

Around the seventh month of your pregnancy, you will have an intake interview with a maternity nurse from the maternity institution where you registered. The number of maternity care hours is determined on the basis of the conversation (= first indication). In some situations, more maternity care is offered and agreed in advance than the basic package of forty-nine hours. For example, if multiple births are on the way or if there is an unstable family situation. If you think forty-nine (for breastfeeding) or forty-five hours (for formula) is too much, you can also ask for fewer hours.


During the intake interview, an initial indication of the number of hours of maternity care is therefore given, but much more is discussed. The interview will take place at your home. The following topics will be covered:

  • What do you expect from maternity care?
  • Where do you want to give birth?
  • Do you want to breastfeed or breastfeed?
  • The duties of the maternity nurse.
  • The working conditions guidelines: there are, among other things, requirements for the height of the maternity bed and the changing table.
  • The things you must have at home, such as the maternity package and the layette.
  • Indication of the number of hours of maternity care.
  • When do you call the maternity nurse?

The intake interview is also an introduction to you and your partner for the maternity agency. The agency would like to know what the family circumstances are like, how much your partner will be away from home for work, whether you follow certain diets or have allergies, etc. In addition, the agency employee usually wants to take a look at the house: where is the bedroom, what does the baby’s room look like, and is the house number clearly visible outside? There is also time for questions from you.

When will the maternity nurse come?

If you give birth at home, maternity care already starts during the birth. Your maternity nurse is present at the birth of your child to assist the midwife. And from the moment your child is on your chest, she is there to guide you.

If you give birth in a hospital, you call the maternity nurse when you go home with your baby. In principle, she will be at your door as soon as possible to help you get home.

What if it doesn’t click with the maternity nurse?

The maternity week is a tough period. You get to know your baby and recover from childbirth. Because the hormones are coursing through your body, you are often quite emotional. At this time it is important that you feel comfortable. If you don’t click with the maternity nurse, call the maternity home as soon as possible or have your partner do it. Then someone else is sent. That happens more often and it is not weird about it, so there is no need to be ashamed of it.

After the maternity period

When the maternity period has ended, the maternity nurse transfers the file with all the information to the health center. From that moment on, the consultation office is your point of contact for all questions you have about the development and upbringing of your child. After the maternity period, your midwife also transfers the medical care to the general practitioner, who from now on you can turn to for everything related to your child’s health.

When should I apply for maternity care?

It is best to register for maternity care as soon as possible if you are about twelve weeks pregnant and have had a good first-term ultrasound. Do it no later than the twentieth week. This way you can be sure that you get the number of hours of maternity care that you need. Otherwise, you may get fewer hours, for example during holiday periods or during a baby boom.

Does it matter which maternity agency I use?

You can choose which maternity institution you engage in but always check first whether your health insurer has agreements with the agency of your choice. Then you know for sure that the maternity care will be reimbursed (except for the statutory personal contribution).

Each maternity organization has its own vision and employees. Some agencies are part of a large organization, the smaller ones are often independent. There are also maternity nurses who work for themselves. 

Another article on this blog that may interest you:

Disability Maternity Care: Pregnancy and disability is it possible?