Who Is Entitled To Free Nhs Maternity Care In The Uk
Most foreign nationals living and working in the United Kingdom have access to free UK healthcare through the publicly funded National Health Service . The system provides maternity care including antenatal, birth, and post-natal care free of charge to women who fall within the following categories:
- Ordinarily resident in the UK: requires a person to live within the UK lawfully, voluntarily, and with the purpose of settling. The NHS decides on a case-by-case basis whether the expectant parent meets the criteria
- EEA nationals insured by another European state
- Those exempt from charges: including refugees, asylum seekers, legal residents for at least 12 months, workers employed by a UK organization, and self-employed persons.
If you dont fall within these categories, you might be asked to pay for your care while having a baby in the UK. However, you legally cant be refused maternity care within the country if you are unable to pay in advance. The NHS may pursue the debt after if charges apply. NHS care, however, is typically free if you are working and paying national insurance contributions in the UK, or if your husband is working in the UK.
Contact Your Obgyn As Soon As You Think You Are Pregnant
Call your OBGYN clinic as soon as you find out youre pregnant. When you call in, your provider will review your medical history to determine the timing of your first prenatal visit. If you are a woman with no medical problems and under the age of 35, your first prenatal appointment will likely be 3-4 weeks after your missed period.
Some women should be seen sooner than others. For instance, if a woman has a history of ectopic pregnancy , she should be seen within a couple of days. Certain other medical conditions warrant an immediate visit with the provider.
Note: Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube. The earliest symptom of ectopic pregnancy is typically light vaginal bleeding soon after a positive pregnancy test. If this happens, call your OBGYN to schedule an ultrasound right away. The ultrasound will identify if the fertilized egg is growing in the uterus or if it has attached somewhere else.
An ectopic pregnancy cannot be moved to the uterus and requires treatment such as medication or surgery. If the ectopic pregnancy continues growing to 5 or 5.5 weeks after conception, it could cause more serious complications, such as a ruptured fallopian tube, which can result in life-threatening internal bleeding. Symptoms of a ruptured fallopian tube include sudden and severe pain, abnormal bleeding, lightheadedness, and shoulder pain.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is available to help low income families with expenses associated with having a new baby. To make a claim for SSMG, parents must provide evidence that they have received advice from a health professional on appropriate health topics. These will include matters such as:
- the needs of the child
- maternal health
A MAT B1 is not necessary for an SSMG claim.
As a medical practitioner, you may be asked to:
- provide advice about the EWC and date of birth, where appropriate
- confirm that your patient has received advice on aspects of maternal or child health
The precise nature of the advice provided is at your discretion but it must comply with current best clinical practice in maternal and child health care.
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What Is Not Known
- We dont know what causes most menstrual disorders, miscarriages, or preterm births. If one of these events occurs, we often cant tell if the cause was job-related physical labor or something else.
- We dont know what amount of heavy lifting, prolonged standing, or bending is safe for each pregnant woman. It depends partially on each womans health, physical fitness level, and stage of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about what level of strenuous physical activity is appropriate for you.
How Can You Protect Yourself And Your Baby From Food Poisoning During Pregnancy
Heres what you can do:
- Wash your hands right before handling food. Wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching animals or their food, bedding, tanks or waste.
- Dont eat foods that are likely to be contaminated with Listeria or Salmonella.
- Handle foods safely whenever you wash, prepare, cook and store them. Wash knives, cutting boards and dishes used to prepare raw meat, fish or poultry before using them for other foods.
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Paid Time Off For Antenatal Appointments
While youre pregnant you can take paid time off work for antenatal appointments your doctor, nurse or midwife recommends. This might include parenting or relaxation classes as well as medical appointments.
You have a right to this time off if youre entitled to maternity leave. It doesnt matter how long youve been working for your employer or what hours you work.
You can also take this time off if youre an agency worker and youve been working for the same hirer for at least 12 weeks in a row.
You should get your usual pay on a day when you go to an appointment. Your employer cant make you work extra hours to make up for the time youre away.
Your partner might also be able to take time off for 1 or 2 of your appointments.
Checking For Hormonal Changes
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Check If Your Period Is Late
- Did your last period start more than four weeks ago?
- How far apart are your periods usually? .
Tip: Even if your cycle is inconsistent or longer than 32 days from one period to the next, if you are more than one week past your expected period, and you have been sexually active, there is a chance you could be pregnant.
I Have To Go To The Toilet More Often Is That A Sign
Oh yes, dashing to the loo more than often can be early sign that youre pregnant. During pregnancy your body increases the amount of blood it pumps around the body. That means the kidneys process more fluid than usual which leads to more fluid in your bladder . For more information on early pregnancy signs and symptoms.
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Private Insurance For Maternity Treatment In The Uk
If you want to go private or arent entitled to receive free NHS treatment in the UK, you will need private health insurance to cover the costs when having a baby in the UK. There are a number of large expat-friendly health insurance companies which provide maternity coverage in the UK. These include:
Make A Healthy Pregnancy Plan
There are some things you can do during your pregnancy to help make sure that you and your baby stay happy and healthy. There are also some things to avoid. Making a healthy pregnancy plan will include things like:
- Get your vitamins: You dont need pregnancy multivitamins, but vitamin D and folic acid supplements are essential in pregnancy. Some people may need a higher dose of folic acid .
- Watch out for certain foods: Its important to try to eat well during pregnancy, including foods from a variety of food groups. But there are also some foods you should avoid because they can put your baby at risk.
- Keep moving: Exercise in pregnancy is great for you and your baby but it doesnt mean you have to join the gym. A daily walk or a swim can be a great way to stay active in pregnancy.
- Stop drinking alcohol: Drinking alcohol can harm your babys development. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink, so the best thing to do is avoid alcohol completely during your pregnancy.
- Stop smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your babys health. There is lots of support available to help you quit smoking.
- Know what medicines are safe: Talk to a health professional before taking any drugs or medicines. Find out which medicines to avoid.
Let us help you! We can give you a personalised plan with everything you need to know for your pregnancy. Try our Healthy Pregnancy tool.
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Telling Your Employer That You’re Pregnant
You must tell your employer that you are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when your baby is due. If this isnt possible because you didnt know you were pregnant, you must tell your employer as soon as possible. You should also tell them when you want to start your Statutory Maternity Leave and Pay.
It’s a good idea to tell your employer earlier, because it will let them plan around your maternity leave and carry out their legal obligations to you. This is important if there are any health and safety issues. You cannot take paid time off for antenatal appointments until you have told your employer you are pregnant.
Telling The Employer About The Pregnancy
Employees must tell their employer about the pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due.
If this is not possible the employer must be told as soon as possible.
Employees cannot take time off for antenatal appointments until theyve told the employer about the pregnancy.
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Who Is Eligible For The Payments
Youll get the payments if youre at least ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four and you and your family get one of the following benefits:
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit if your familys income is £16,190 or less and youre not getting Working Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit if youre receiving Working Tax Credit run-on. A run-on might be paid to you in the four weeks after youve stopped working enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit if your household is earning £408 or less a month
- Working Tax Credit run-on. This is the payment you receive for four weeks after youve stopped working for 16 hours or more each week
- Pension Credit .
You also qualify for Healthy Start Food payments if youre not getting one of these benefits yourself but you live with your partner and they get the benefit.
If youre under 18 and pregnant, you can also get Healthy Start payments even if you dont get any of the benefits listed above.
If youre not a British citizen but your child is, you might still be able to get Healthy Start payments. Find out more by scrolling to the bottom of this page on the NHS Healthy StartOpens in a new window
Scared Of Telling The Dad
The idea of being a teenage parent can be just as frightening for young men as it can be for young women. They may also need support to deal with the situation.
Talking about it together can help find a solution. You’ll also be able to support each other through it.
It might seem hard to talk about it, but it can really help.
If you’re a young man or a young woman and are worried about pregnancy, you can talk to us about it anytime. You don’t have to be scared that you’ll be judged. You won’t be.
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What Is Listeriosis And How Can It Affect Pregnancy
Listeriosis is a kind of food poisoning caused by Listeria bacteria. During pregnancy, you can pass the bacteria to your baby. This can cause problems, including:
- Miscarriage. This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Stillbirth. This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Preterm labor and premature birth. These are labor and birth that happen too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born prematurely may have health problems and birth and later in life.
- Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
- Life-threatening infections in your baby, including bacteria in the blood and meningitis. Meningitis is an infection that causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord. Infected babies may have health problems after birth, including seizures, blindness and problems with the brain, heart and kidneys.
Listeria may be in the soil, water, on animals and in animal waste. The most common cause of listeriosis is eating food with Listeria in it. Foods that are most likely to have Listeria include:
Health And Safety For Pregnant Employees
When the employee tells their employer theyre pregnant, the employer should assess the risks to the employee and their baby.
Risks could be caused by:
- heavy lifting or carrying
- standing or sitting for long periods without adequate breaks
- exposure to toxic substances
- long working hours
Where there are risks, the employer should take reasonable steps to remove them. For example, offering the employee different work or changing their hours.
The employer should suspend the employee on full pay if they cannot remove any risks. For example, offering suitable alternative work.
For full details about the regulations see the Health and Safety Executive website.
Pregnant employees who think theyre at risk but their employer disagrees should talk to their health and safety or trade union representative. If your employer still refuses to do anything, talk to your doctor or contact the Health and Safety Executive.
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Your Nhs Pregnancy Journey
See a midwife or GP as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. This is so they can book your pregnancy care and make sure you get all the information and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy.
Your first appointment with a midwife should happen before you’re 10 weeks pregnant.
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant and have not seen a GP or midwife, contact a GP or midwife as soon as possible. They’ll see you quickly and help you start your pregnancy care.
What Can I Do To Reduce Or Eliminate Exposure
- If you are pregnant and working, you may want to reduce or avoid:
- Stooping, bending, or squatting often
- Lifting heavy objects from the floor or any location that requires you to bend or reach
- Lifting overhead or reaching
- Standing for 3 hours or more
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Employment And Support Allowance
If a woman is not entitled to SMP or MA she may be able to get Employment and Support Allowance . If a woman makes a claim for MA and does not qualify, she will automatically be considered for ESA.
The qualifying conditions for ESA are different from those used for MA. ESA depends upon the payment of National Insurance contributions in the relevant tax years.
ESA can be paid for 6 weeks before the EWC and for 14 days after the baby is born, subject to satisfying the conditions of entitlement for ESA. A womans MAT B1 is accepted as evidence of having limited capability for work for this period.
Maternity Notes And Medical Care
Take a copy of your hand held maternity notes in case you need medical care during travel include information about any pre-existing medical conditions and your blood group.
Carefully consider your intended destinations prior to booking, find out about:
- availability and standard of medical care
- existing health risks in the destination countries
- any other travel warnings.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website provides advice on the availability of medical treatment and facilities alongside any travel warnings on an individual country basis.
It is essential that all your early pregnancy examinations are carried out prior to travel in order to rule out potential complications. If travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy, it is important to ensure that available medical facilities at the destination are suitable to manage complications of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia and caesarean section.
Misunderstandings due to language barriers or cultural problems could make communication and therefore diagnosis and treatment of any illness more difficult than it would be at home.
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