Irma Speetjes & her Childbirth Class | Interview by our GiT spouse Irem Bezcioglu

Am very happy to present this interview with Irma Speetjens about her Childbirth Class, initiated and carried out by Irem Bezcioglu!

Finding your way in a new country is demanding! There are thousands of things to ask, learn and remember. After living in Eindhoven for more than 4 years, I thought I had learnt enough!

Yet I started all over again when I found out I was going to have a baby. Among the many learning experiences during pregnancy, taking a childbirth class was by far the most useful one. I am happy that I contacted Irma Speetjens, a mother of four kids, a nurse, and a childbirth class teacher, to help me facilitate the birth of my son.

In her classes, Irma makes sure couples are well prepared for what expects them before, during and after the labor. This post is all about her; who she is, how she started to work with internationals, what she offers in her classes, etc.



Irma and Kuzey

Irma Speetjens with the lovely handsome son Kuzey of Irem Bezcioglu

Could you tell us about yourself?

I’m a mother of 4 children, 3 sons and one daughter. I love biking, like reading books and shop in town and feel relaxed on our boat and enjoy the Netherlands from the water. Besides that there is always something going on in my lovely family.

After being a hospital-based nurse for 12 years I became a mother. Because of these new family commitments, I started the childbirth education of Samen Bevallen. Since 1997 I have worked as a childbirth class teacher and I give classes in Dutch two evenings a week.

I know what it is like to be expecting a baby in a culture other than your own and all the uncertainty and emotions that this can bring. I specialize in prenatal individual or group childbirth classes- information sessions and coaching for international couples expecting a baby in the Netherlands.

I really enjoy working with pregnant women during pregnancy and birth. My aim is to help couples have a memorable and empowering birthing experience in the Netherlands. I hope that every international parent-to-be I support will anticipate their birth with confidence, look back at their birthing experience with contentment and feel prepared and excited about becoming new parents in Holland.

How did you begin with the birth class for internationals?

As a former expat myself, having lived in the United States and also Japan, I have personal experience of what it is like to move countries and find your way in a new totally different system. My husband works at ASML and he knows how many expats are living in Eindhoven. And being pregnant! He motivated me to start my English classes.

This was the inspiration for starting my English spoken classes in 2000.

How can internationals benefit from your classes?
Continue reading

Health Post about Screening |Reffat Ara Shegufa


Reffat Ara Shegufa

Our dear GiT spouse Reffat Ara Shegufa regularly writes about various health issues. Interesting  informationreflections and tips for internationals.

This time she focuses on screening by your family doctor. In The Netherlands doctors usually are reluctant to screen their patients as a standard. Reasons are, among others, the validity of the outcomes (couldn’t always give 100 % safe predictions) or bad by effects of some screening  procedures.

Reffat reflects on this theme  in an intersting and informative way.

Pls enjoy her post below


When I first started working as a volunteer in SGE, I found lots of complaints against Dutch health system. One of the main complaints was the Dutch screening system against diseases, for example breast cancer or other malignant diseases.

Many expats believe that Dutch system is very reluctant to screening. In our society we all think that screening has lots of advantages. It can detect diseases early; we can treat them and control them. Finally we can live longer by monitoring dangerous diseases.

Unfortunately, the scenario is not as simple as it looks like.  Due to lack of proper communication people do not usually get the real dangerous nature of screening.



Here I will give an overview of the side effects of screening with an example of the most popular screening procedure for women used for the diagnosis of breast cancer.

People think that breast cancer screening will detect the early stages of breast cancer and will reduce the death rate. However, there is no conclusive finding for the reduced death rate in young women due to screening over non-screening patients.

  1. Sometimes it results in over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment burden for the benign/non harmful conditions. Because sometimes it diagnoses some of the changes inside the body which would never go on to cause invasive breast cancer.
  1. Unnecessary radiation for benign condition may increase the chances of heart diseases in later stages of life.
  1. A patient may be diagnosed to have cancer by screening in 2013 while her neighbor is found to have the same disease in 2015 through the symptoms. Both may die in 2017. People think that the patient diagnosed by screening lived longer than her neighbor. But in reality both of them lived the same duration.
  1. It treats unnecessarily more patients than the number of lives saved.

I am not ignoring the beneficial effects of screening here. I just want to give some real idea about it.

Before going for screening everyone should discuss the pros and cons of the screening procedure. If your doctors do not tell you him/herself, you should ask him/her about the real side effects of this procedure. You should compare the actual pros and cons of it.

I believe, as a patient, you deserve to know the truth and you have all the rights to take your own treatment and screening decisions.

People who are really worried about the relaxed screening system of the Dutch healthcare might find some comfort knowing that the beneficial effects of the screening are now questioned by the researchers.

We should take our decisions very carefully judging if the risk of screening is really worthy of taking. I only mentioned the effects of breast cancer screening here, but it might go for all others screening.

‘Stay healthy, keep smiling’


Tips for a Healthy Summer | Reffat Ara Shegufa

Reffat Ara Shegufa

Reffat Ara Shegufa

Summer is always enjoyable in Europe. After a long and gloomy winter, summer always makes people happy. Most of us welcome the warm weather in summer. It’s time to enjoy sunshine, increase natural vitamin D level and vacation.

However, summer can sometimes turn into a severe catastrophe. Sudden rise in temperature can lead to extremely harmful impacts on our health. Prolonged period of high temperature and intensely humid weather can be life threatening in many cases. For instance, people in India and Pakistan are now going through severe heat waves.

According to Royal Meteorological Institute of Netherlands (KNMI), the temperature of Eindhoven will reach 37°C this weekend and the next week will be as hot as this week.

IMG_0746Here you can find some tips to keep yourselves healthy in this warm weather.

  1. Wear lightweight, light colored and loose-fitting clothes. Dark clothes hold heat and do not let your body cool properly.
  2. Use wide-brimmed hat or umbrella and sunscreen while going out. Having excessive sunburn reduces your body’s ability to rid itself of the heat.
  3. Drink plenty of fluid such as water and juice.
  4. Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Also avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
  5. Keep watermelon, honeydew melon, cucumber and berries in your diet. These fruits keep you hydrated and cool.
  6. If your home does not have air conditioner, you can stay at least few hours in air-conditioned shopping mall or library.
  7. Never leave anyone in a closed and parked vehicle.
  8. Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  9. Cut down the amount of your physical exercises.
  10. Check friends and relatives, specially the old ones.
  11. Freeze a couple of water bottles and place them in front of a floor or desk fan. You will enjoy a much cooler breeze.

IMG_7715Keep healthy and enjoy the summer.

Have a safe and sound summer!