All steps to take to ensure medical, psycho-social and administrative guidance during your pregnancy.
(Para)medical follow-up of your pregnancy
- Visit a medical practitioner to define the expected date of birth and to follow-up your baby’s evolution during your pregnancy.
- Choose where you want to give birth: most mothers give birth in a hospital (Universitair ziekenhuis Leuven or Regionaal ziekenhuis Heilig Hart Leuven). Some of them choose to give birth in a birth centre (outside of Leuven) or at home. Depending on your decision, the follow-up is done by a (only in Dutch:) gynaecologist, a midwife and/or a general practitioner.
- Contact a midwife practice during your pregnancy to prepare your postnatal care. Midwifes can also help you prepare for breastfeeding.
Financial action steps
- Connect to a health insurance fund to reclaim (part of) your medical expenses.
- The system of a one time birth allowance or geboortepremie was replaced by a 'starting amount' or startbedrag. You can request this startbedrag no earlier than four months before the estimated birth date and up to five years after the birth from a Groeipakket payment fund. Request the 'starting amount' before the birth, then provide your payment fund with a doctor's certificate stating the anticipated date of birth. If you are not yet able to provide a certificate when making your request, you may provide this at a later point.
- Ask for a complementary birth allowance from the city of Leuven (only in Dutch) if you live in Leuven and have a low income.
- In Belgium, every family is entitled to monthly child allowances, the so-called basic amount of the growth package or basisbedrag van het Groeipakket. Did you receive a 'starting amount' for your child in the new system? Then you will receive the basic amount automatically. If you have not received child benefits or a 'starting amount', you can request the basic amount from a Groeipakket payment fund.
- For each dependent child you receive a tax deduction. Make sure your employer is informed about your dependent child(ren).
Maternity care and child day care
- Register to find day care for your baby. You can register for day care from the moment you are pregnant. The sooner the registration, the more chances you’ll have to find an adequate place.
- Register for maternity care at six months pregnancy. There are four maternity care services (Dutch only but a lot of those services do speak English !) in Leuven that come to your home to help with the care for the baby and small household tasks (e.g. preparing meals, washing,...).
Leave of absence
- At the start of your maternity leave, inform your ziekenfonds (health insurance) by sending the declaration “Aangifte arbeidsongeschiktheid"/"Inability to work”. They will pay an allowance as from the first day of maternity leave (since you will not receive a salary from your employer during this period).
- Contact your employer to inform them about leaves of absence related to becoming a parent (e.g. maternal leave, paternal leave, breastfeeding leave).
- You can participate in group sessions with other expecting parents in the hospital of your choice or with your midwife practice. You can meet other parents (to be) in parent groups or in play and meeting rooms (both links are in Dutch, however English is spoken very often) all over Leuven. Mums Meet Mums is an international parent group. For dates and locations, check the Facebook of Huis van het Kind Leuven, or the website of your maternity hospital.
- You or your partner will need to go to the town or city hall of the birth place to register your child; in Leuven the Stadskantoor (City Office). You will receive several certificates. This has to be done within 15 days after the birth.
- Declare the birth of your child at your employer. Bring the birth certificate received at the town or city hall and the form ‘Bedrijfsvoorheffing – toekenning van de vermindering wegens gezinslasten” ( EN: Withholding tax - granting the reduction for family expenses)
- A hospital insurance covers extra medical costs during and after your stay at the hospital. Normally there is a waiting period of at least 9 months for pregnant women, so if you’re thinking about getting pregnant make sure to register for the hospital insurance in advance.
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