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Having a baby in Belgium

Having a baby abroad can have leave expectant parents with a lot of questions

In Belgium, there is a lot of support for expecting parents. Pregnancy and birth are well-covered by insurance or the public health system (Les Centres Publics d'Action Sociale, CPAS, in French, and Openbaar Centrum voor Maatschappelijk Welzijn, OCMW, in Dutch). Further, children zero to six receive free medical care and both parents receive parental leave, though women receive more.

Pre-natal steps

Two important organisations to keep mind are Office de la Naissance et de L’Enfance (ONE) and Kind & Gezin (K&G). ONE operates in Wallonia and Brussels and K&G in Flanders, and both provide pre- and post-natal support for expecting parents, from helping you find a doctor, midwife or gynaecologist to pre-natal care classes.

A third organisation is the Brussels Childbirth Trust (BCT), which, while not covering as broad an range of services at the other two, provides pre- and post-natal care and courses in English.

The birth

Most births in Belgium take place in hospitals. Labouring mothers go to maternity hospitals found throughout the country, which will either be wards in general hospitals or in apart buildings.

As an alternative to the hospital setting, you can also choose to go to special birthing clinics calledmaisons de la naissance. These provide a more home-like atmosphere and have midwives on staff who will oversee your birth.

Home births in Belgium are less common, though some opt for this path as well. To give birth at home, your doctors must declare you to be in good health and you must have two midwives present. The Professional Union of Midwives website can help direct you towards finding a midwife.

KD

Categories:   Education

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