Maternity care

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Maternity care is a form of home care. Maternity care is given during and after child birth, to the mother and newborn child. This type of care is meant to support mother, child and the other members of the family, and is usually given for about a week.

What is maternity care?

Maternity care has the following aspects:

  • assisting the midwife in the support that she gives to a woman that is giving birth at home
  • keeping an eye on the health of the woman that has just given birth and the baby
  • giving information about breastfeeding
  • giving information about the physical recovery of the woman that has just given birth
  • assisting the family with finding their new routines
  • giving assistance and advise on the care that needs to be given to the baby

The transition from living dependently in the womb towards functioning with one's own system is something that the maternity caretakers have specialised in. In case of abnormalities they warn the midwife, after which the situation is assessed. Then it is decided whether or not the mother and child should continue to stay at home.

History of maternity care

The fact that families with newborn babies can count on maternity care in the Netherlands is a great achievement. It means that they can stay at home when there are no medical indications that they should be in the hospital.

In 1995 there was a politician that did not think that this system for maternity care was a necessity. As no other countries had a system like that, this person thought it seemed superfluous.

The health insurances were able to keep maternity care by organising birth payments that the new parents could spend on anything related. It was a blow to the way that maternity care had existed before from the day of birth to the day the parents fully took over again.

Maternity care in practice

Sometimes families get different maternity caretakers in their maternity week. As each carer practices the way they think is fit sometimes new parents are confused by the situation. This is one reason for maternity caretakers to continue to study.

A maternity centre often has a lactation expert. The lactation expert has knowledge based on scientific research done by the WHO, an organisation of which the one and only goal is to achieve a good policy for nutrition of mother and child anywhere in the world.

Internal links

pregnancy and giving birth

washable nappies


The first version of this article was written by and in corporation with Rosa Scharn.

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