This page lists the benefits you're entitled to when you're pregnant, and has information on maternity and paternity leave. It also lists other benefits you might be able to receive, depending on your circumstances.
When you're pregnant, you're entitled to up to a year of maternity leave.
All employed pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks (one year) of maternity leave, no matter how long they've worked for their employer. This is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. You have a range of rights during this period and can also request that your employer provides flexible working arrangements if you decide to return to work at the end of your leave. Find out more about statutory maternity leave.
The GOV.UK website has an online tool that can give you personalised guidance on maternity rights.
Your employment terms, for example your pension contributions, are protected while you are on Statutory Maternity Leave. If you are made redundant while on Statutory Maternity Leave, you also have extra rights.
If you're pregnant, your employer must protect your health and safety, and you may have the right to paid time off for antenatal care. You are also protected against unfair treatment.
If you enjoy your work and like the people you work with, you may have mixed feelings when you go on maternity leave. Try to make the most of these few weeks to enjoy doing the things you want to do at your own pace. It's also a good opportunity to make some new friends. You may meet other pregnant women you want to keep in touch with at antenatal classes, or you may get to know more people living close by. Find out about your employee rights when you're on maternity, adoption or parental leave.
You may have decided that you're going to spend some time at home with your baby, or you may be planning to return to work, either full time or part time, fairly soon after the birth. If you plan to go back to work, start thinking in advance about who will look after your baby. It's not always easy to find satisfactory childcare arrangements, and it may take you some time.
You may have a relative who is willing to look after your child. If not, contact the Family Information Service at your local authority for a list of registered childminders and nurseries in your area. GOV.UK has more information about childcare. You may also want to think about organising care in your own home, either on your own or sharing with other parents.
Care in your own home does not need to be registered, but make sure that your carer is experienced and trained to care for babies. The Gov.uk website has more information on:
You have employment rights and responsibilities when you go back to work. Make sure you know what these are and what to do if you have any problems or you are denied your rights. Find out more about your right to return to work after Statutory Maternity Leave.
If you are a father or willing to share parental responsibility – including same-sex partner or adopting a child – you may have the right to paternity leave. You may have the right to up to 26 weeks' additional paternity Leave. Find out more about paternity leave. GOV.UK has an online tool that can give you personalised guidance on paternity rights at work or speak to your Chain of Command.
Parents of children aged 16 and under, or of disabled children aged 18 and under, are entitled to request a flexible working pattern. You need to follow a specific procedure when making your request. Find out more about asking for flexible working.
There are benefits and financial help for pregnant women, whether they are employed or not.
Prescriptions and NHS dental treatment are free while you are pregnant and for 12 months after you have given birth. Children also get free prescriptions until they are 16. To claim free prescriptions, ask your doctor or midwife for form FW8 or confirmation of pregnancy and send it to your health authority. You will be sent an Exemption Certificate that lasts for a year after your due date.
To claim after your baby is born (if you didn’t claim while you were pregnant) fill in form A in leaflet P11 NHS Prescriptions, which you can get from your doctor or Jobcentre Plus. To claim for dental treatment, tick a box on a form provided by the dentist or show your Exemption Certificate.
Most of the links in this list take you to the GOV.UK website, where you'll find the most up-to-date information about rights and benefits, including those for pregnant women and parents.
Child Tax Credit gives financial support for children, and Working Tax Credit helps people in lower-paid jobs by topping up their wages. Find out more about tax credits.
A weekly payment from your employer to help you take time off before and after your baby is born. Find out more about Statutory Maternity Pay, including when you need to tell your employer that you're pregnant.
If you're pregnant or have a new baby but don't qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, you might be able to claim Maternity Allowance through Jobcentre Plus. Find out more about Maternity Allowance, including how to apply.
If your wife, partner (including same-sex partner) or civil partner gives birth or adopts a child, you may be able to claim Statutory Paternity Pay to help you take time off work to support her. Find out more about Statutory Paternity Pay, including when you need to let your employer know that you're expecting.
A weekly payment from your employer to help you take time off if you adopt a child. Find out more about Statutory Adoption Pay, including how and when to let your employer know.
The main benefit for people of working age who are out of work. Find out more about Jobseeker's Allowance.
If you can't be available for full-time work and haven't got enough money to live on, you might qualify for Income Support, depending on your circumstances. Find out more about Income Support, including how and where to claim.
This has replaced Income Support for people who can't work because of illness or disability. Find out more about Employment and Support Allowance.
You might be eligible for help with paying your council tax if your income is low. Find out more about Council Tax Benefit.
Financial help to live independently in the community or to ease exceptional pressure on you and your family if you receive certain benefits. Find out more about Community Care Grants.
Transport to hospital is provided via your local medical centre. Please ask at reception for details.
You should get advice on benefits as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Benefits have to be claimed on different forms, from different offices, depending on what you're claiming. Maternity rights are complex and sometimes change, so get further advice if you're not sure. There are many voluntary organisations that are happy to help, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice or get an opinion. You can contact any of the following organisations:
To find local advice agencies visit your HIVE information centre. There is one on each station.
The following may also be useful:
Last reviewed: 28/08/2013
Next review due: 28/08/2015
PSS: As detailed in JSP 464, Pregnant Single Servicewomen (PSS) are entitled to SFA from 3 months before the due date up until the date of birth. The PSS will pay SFA charges and CILOCT (abated for single occupancy) at the appropriate rate for the property. Further information can be found in JSP 464 Part 1 Chapter 4.
Families: Families already living in military accommodation may be able to apply to move into larger premises due to an increase in family size. Please ask your named midwife for a Mat B1 equivalent form in support of your application. Please note these forms cannot be issued earlier than the beginning of the 20th week before the expected date of delivery.
If living in Service Families Accommodation and posted during maternity leave, please note you may be entitled to claim Disturbance Allowance, Packers and Removals. Please raise this matter with your Unit Admin Office.