In the Netherlands, after the child is born, your insurance will typically cover most of the costs for a home-care-nurse-helper-type person for about a week. Between my own wavering confidence about the whole mom-thing, the possibility that Karel might still be working (he's arranged for vacation time, but babies aren't exactly known for their consideration of others' scheduling issues) and knowing that we'll be hosting the in-laws, at the very least, for the first few days, we decided this wouldn't be a bad thing to have. Someone to help out with the "light housekeeping" (keep reading to see why this is in quotes), change the baby when he needs it, run a load of laundry from time to time, and just generally help you ease into "you're a mom" isn't a bad idea, especially if it's your first time.
So Karel picked out the kraamzorg service--after a while they all sounded the same to me, so I delegated the task of picking out a service to him--and I contacted them, and we made an appointment, and a few weeks ago a lovely woman showed up at our door, smiling--and armed with a packet of papers thicker than my arm.
Granted, a lot of the paper was a basic-baby-care manual, covering stuff like breastfeeding and sterilizing bottles and how to lay your baby in a crib--that sort of stuff. But there was a good long list of checklists for the kraamhulp to fill in: the housework that was done; when did the baby cry, eat, sleep, pee, and poop; what my condition was; and a good amount of lined page for "miscellaneous notes". On top of that, there was a 3-page checklist for things that we needed to have--hot-water bottles, absorbent sheets, not-so-abosrbent sheets, a non-slip mat (though I suspect that that's for a bathtub, which we don't have), and bed raisers. There needs to be at least 50 cm of space around our bed on all sides (hah!), and the doorways need to be free and clear of stuff...and that's before they get to the list of "light housekeeping" things that the kraamhulp does, which basically amounts to "everything that we already do regularly, except everyday" (and this, might I add, apparently includes changing the sheets and doing laundry). Which sort of begs the question of what "real housekeeping" entails to the Dutch. Which is a bit frightening to contemplate, but I suspect it involves cleaning the stopcontacten with wasbenzine.