BlondebutBright: The birth of attitude change

BlondebutBright: The birth of attitude change

Comments5 comments

“Giving birth in the Netherlands has radically altered my attitude about the Dutch,” says American blogger Janelle Ward (BlondebutBright), who now advocates natural birth.

In my early years abroad I was already hearing scary things about giving birth in the Netherlands. Mostly ghastly things like "You'll never get any drugs, you know." "They'll let you labour for 50 hours and will never even consider a C-section." "You have to give birth at home although women often are rushed to hospital because of complications."

Giving birth in the Netherlands has radically altered my attitude about the Dutch.

Anyone who knows me or who has followed this blog over the years will understand that this was quite unlikely. But having a baby here has opened my eyes to one example of how the Dutch system actually works, and has made me aware of how much I was living on the expat fringe.

My son Adrian arrived on 26 August 2010, coincidentally the nine-year anniversary of my arrival in the Netherlands. As I mentioned in my last blog post, he was transverse and ended up in a breech position, despite my greatest efforts to get him to turn. So the midwife referred me to the hospital, and the LUMC handled the remainder of my appointments.

After one final (and failed) attempt to turn Adrian with ECV, the doctor told me I had two options: schedule a C-section or try to deliver naturally. I did a huge amount of research and was uneasily heading to the conclusion that I should get a C-section. Then I went to speak to the doctor. He listened to my reasoning and then said, "Well, if you really want a C-section, we'll schedule if for you. But if you are interested in a natural delivery - and it sounds like you are - then I want you to know we are fully capable of delivering him vaginally, and all indications point to the possibility of a positive outcome."

I was shocked. In the US - not to mention almost every other European country - such a scenario was almost impossible. And yet the doctor was actually encouraging me to try for a natural birth? I really expected the opposite. After all, isn't it easier for doctors to schedule a C-section? It's half an hour of work, can be done during working hours, and there's no waiting around for nature to take its course. And yet the obstetrics department at the LUMC seemed to want to complicate their working lives in order to provide the best outcome for my baby. Of course, they cautioned that they had a very low tolerance of complications for a breech baby, and if anything went wrong during labour a C-section would be unavoidable.

So we decided to go for it, and waited for Adrian to make his appearance.

He finally decided to grace us with his presence at almost 41 weeks. The natural delivery - performed by an incredibly competent resident - went very well. Breech deliveries require special training and it seems that all obstetricians at the LUMC are familiar with the art. It was performed flawlessly, even at almost 3am when Adrian was born.

Throughout my pregnancy I said that I wouldn't want to be in any other country for this experience. This feeling has only increased after giving birth in the Netherlands. After avoiding everything Dutch for years, I now find myself an enthusiastic advocate for their philosophy - which, surprisingly, seems designed around my wishes. My attitude change also comes from what I experienced after the birth, when a system boasting home visits took over. Visit my blog for details of my experience with the kraamzorg (maternity nurse) and the consultatiebureau (health clinic).


Janelle Ward (BlondebutBright) is a born and raised Minnesotan living in Leiden, the Netherlands. Nine years ago she came to Europe for a brief international experience. Along the way, having acquired a Spanish husband, a PhD and a little one, she has found that observing life outside her comfort zone is a true passion. Visit her blog post here.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)


Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .
 
 

Job FairBe Yourself. Be Discovered. Get hired. Don't miss Expatica’s International Job Fair: register at jobfair.expatica.com for an access-all pass and online discount.



 
Expat Fair Join the “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair for Internationals living, working and studying in the Netherlands. Get your FREE tickets here.
 


5 Comments To This Article

  • JuanM posted:

    on 17th November 2010, 16:23:59 - Reply

    The main concern about health care system in The Netherlands is not how qualified are doctors or how good hospitals are. I've had experiences with that without any complains. However it's the first line of doctors (the GPs) that make the negative impression on expats. Even Dutch people tell me how good it used to be years ago compared to now.

    On the home childbirth, the risks versus the advantages would put me off unless there is no choice. From the health system the cost reduction is clear if you take into account the bed cost per day on a hospital.
    However, there is far too much at stake to consider the risks as unimportant. If there are no complications, home childbirth can be seen even as a noble way to perform it. However when things go bad, and sometimes they do, it's all about time. The time to get to a hospital from a crowded neighbourhood, with the relative accessible apartments; all that can bring major consequences.

    The new born death rate in the Netherlands is one of the highest in Europe, that's a fact enough to be concerned despite a few nice experiences.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102191843.htm

  • EditorNL posted:

    on 13th November 2010, 14:15:20 - Reply

    In the following article, Childbirth in the Netherlands,you'll see that two Expatica readers were also put off the idea of childbirth in the Netherlands from hearing negative stories. You'll see my response to them along with advice:
    http://www.expatica.com/nl/essentials_moving_to/essentials/childbirth-in-holland-38191_9489.html
  • EditorNL posted:

    on 13th November 2010, 14:09:50 - Reply

    I'd like to add that I also had an extremely positive experience of childbirth in the Netherlands. Both my children were born here, at home, and I only have praise for the way the Dutch health professionals handled things. From my experience, I think I would now feel unsafe giving birth OUTSIDE of the Netherlands.

    However, don't forget that this experience is very personal and many factors influence how the pregnancy and birth go; genetic makeup of course, as well as the mother’s attitude, expectations and psychological well-being at the time. Wherever you are, things can go wrong and individuals in whichever country, could, in the mother’s view, take decisions which in retrospect they feel were not the best ones.
  • bevtrek posted:

    on 12th November 2010, 20:11:06 - Reply

    I'm sure you don't. Its mainly because those of us who are positive about living here have learned not to bother voicing it on this site, least we be inundated with crap from the less happy expats.
  • Geoff Naylor posted:

    on 12th November 2010, 11:00:31 - Reply

    I almost had to read the article twice.
    Is it really an unmitigated positive message? From an expat, about the Netherlands?
    Not something you come across very often.