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 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.
- Ask for a one-time birth allowance (geboortepremie) between 24th week of pregnancy and before your child is 5 years old.
- For a first child: The father fills out the application form. The mother and the bank fill out the form betaling op zichtrekening (only in Dutch – payment on bank account). The documents are to be provided to your employer.
- As from the second child: Provide a doctor’s certificate mentioning the estimated birth date to your employer. This certificate must be drafted by the doctor as from the 6th month of pregnancy.
- Ask for a complementary birth allowance from the city of Leuven if you live in Leuven and have a low income.
- In Belgium every family is entitled to monthly child allowances (kinderbijslag). Contact your employer to find out about the application procedure.
- 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 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, parental 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 play and meeting rooms all over Leuven. For dates and locations, check the newsletter of Huis van het Kind Leuven, Opvoedkalender (Dutch only – educational calendar) or the websites of your maternity hospital.
- Start postnatal physiotherapy to help restore your body after giving birth.
- 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, the form "Attest om Kraamgeld te bekomen krachtens de wetgeving inzake kinderbijslag" (EN: certificate to obtain maternity fees) , 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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