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Support for those who are pregnant, parents and children


If you are pregnant, all NHS prescriptions and NHS dental treatment is free. It is also free for 12 months after you have given birth.

Children get free prescriptions until they are 16 years old.

To claim, ask your doctor or midwife for FW8 form, they will be able to fill the form for you.

With the online maternity exemption service you could get your certificate straight away if you have an email address. Just ask your midwife or doctor.

Otherwise, you’ll get your paper certificate in the post within 10 working days of the NHS receiving your application.

Healthy start

Healthy start is a scheme to help eligible parents buy milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, infant formula and vitamins during pregnancy and until their child is 4 years old. You need to be claiming certain benefits (see below) to qualify and if you’re pregnant and under 18 you can claim even if you do not receive any benefits.

You are sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops (primarily local pharmacies), it is topped up every 4 weeks. It cannot be used for online shopping.

To find a shop that accepts Healthy Support you can search by using your location. For more information and to apply visit the NHS Healthy Start website.

  • You can get Healthy Start support if you receive Universal credit and you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years old or parental responsibility for a child under 4 years old.
  • You can also apply if you get Child Tax Credit and have at least one child under 4 years old, and family income is £16,190 or less.
  • If you are under 18, and more than 10 weeks pregnant, you are eligible for Healthy Start until your baby is born.

To apply for Healthy Start Support fill out this form. You will need name, address, date of birth, national insurance number, baby due date and benefits award letter (if over 18 years old) to apply.