Health insurance companies are not concerned about the increasing popularity of hospital births because they cost about the same as a home birth, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.
‘If a woman gives birth in an out-patients clinic, under the supervision of a midwife, it does not cost much more than a home birth,’ a spokesman for the health insurance company association said.
This is because many women who opt for a hospital birth may have to pay an extra fee.
Nevertheless, insurers are concerned about overcapacity, now hospitals are building extra accommodation to cope with the surge in day clinic births.
The Telegraaf said earlier on Thursday that in Leiden alone, the number of hospital births has gone up from 3,000 to 3,600, prompting an expansion in services. And the Canisius-Wilhelmina hospital in Nijmegen is building 15 new luxury birthing suites to meet demand.
Ten years ago, 37% of babies in the Netherlands were born in hospital but that had risen to 75% by last year.
Professor Jan van Lith of Leiden University’s teaching hospital told the paper media reports about the high perinatal death rate in the Netherlands were driving women to chose hospital births. The increase in demand for pain relief is also playing a role, he said.
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