Hospitals still can't guarantee women beds to give birth: association
Women who want or have to give birth in a hospital are still not sure of a bed everywhere, according to the Netherlands' association for midwives KNOV. Due to the shortage of specialized nurses combined with more births, it remains difficult throughout the country to find a place in the hospital in time, for example, if a woman needs pain relief during childbirth.
More babies are usually born in the summer, and this year there was also a baby boom after last winter's coronavirus lockdowns. But even now that it is autumn and the number of births is decreasing, the problems are still not solved, according to Rosanne van der Sterre, who monitors the hospital capacity for the KNOV.
Three-quarters of women give birth in the hospital for medical reasons or pain relief, for example. "Midwives now often have to call five hospitals for those women before they have found a place," said Van der Sterre. "What you sometimes see happen is that women start saying at the first contraction that they want pain relief to get a bed in the hospital on time. While it can also take hours or days before the delivery really starts. So you keep a bed occupied all that time."
The lack of space was initially primarily an issue in the Randstad, but all regions are now experiencing difficulties in providing hospital care to women giving birth. It is also possible that a baby is born prematurely and has to be nursed in the hospital for a while. "But there is also a shortage of nurses specialized in neonatology. So in such a case, it may be that a woman can only go to another region further away."
Solutions in the short term lie in handing over more tasks to the midwives, said Van der Sterre. "Recently, midwives are also allowed to do heart monitoring. If they start doing that more, you don't have to go to the hospital for something like this. That saves another bed."
Reporting by ANP