Chapter

The Dutch Obstetrical System: Vanguard of the Future in Maternity Care

Raymond De Vries, Therese A. Wiegers, Beatrijs Smulders and Edwin Van Teijlingen

in Birth Models That Work

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520248632
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943339 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248632.003.0002
The Dutch Obstetrical System: Vanguard of the Future in Maternity Care

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The singularity of the Dutch maternity care system has made it a model for all those who seek to slow or reverse the march toward the medicalization of birth found in the developed world. This chapter offers a description of the Dutch way of birth that includes stories and statistics which paint a picture of the players and outcomes of the system. It accounts for the history of midwifery and its place in the organization of medical care, explaining the ways obstetrics in the Netherlands expresses the culture of that country. The study provides a statistical picture of the Dutch way of birth, interspersed with stories of births that reveal what birth in the Netherlands feels like and how it is valued. Most explanations of the persistence of home birth and independent midwifery in the Netherlands look to the structure of maternity care and health care.

Keywords: Dutch maternity; midwifery; maternity care; obstetrics; Netherlands

Chapter.  9724 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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