At the family information service we know that raising a child is the most important and rewarding job you’ll ever have. We also understand there’s a lot of information to work your way through as you begin your journey.

What will I do about work? Will I get any financial support? Who do I go to if I need help?

This section will provide you with the key information you need for life with your new baby and details of where to go if you need further advice and guidance.

I've found out I'm pregnant - what's next?

Congratulations!

Your first task is to arrange an appointment with your doctor. Based on the information you give them they’ll plot your due date and pass your details to the Maternity Services who will arrange a ‘Booking Appointment.’

Your Booking Appointment will take place when you’re approximately two months pregnant.

For more information about what happens at your Booking Appointment and the rest of your antenatal appointments, visit the NHS website’s dedicated maternity pages.

Although there’s not much else you need to do at this early stage, it would be beneficial to find out all the information now so that you know what to expect.

Make a note of the key dates for important tasks such as, advising your employer of your pregnancy and deciding when you’d like your maternity leave to start. Perhaps record the tasks in a diary or write them on your calendar to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Maternity leave and pay

When you take time off to have a baby you might be eligible for:

  • Statutory maternity leave
  • Statutory maternity pay
  • Paid time off for antenatal care
  • Extra help from the government

Visit the Gov.UK website to find out about maternity leave and pay and see what you might be eligible for.

Paternity pay and leave

When you take time off because your partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement, you might be eligible for:

  • 1 or 2 week’s paid paternity leave
  • Paternity pay
  • Shared parental leave and pay

Visit the Gov.UK website to find out about paternity leave and pay and see what you might be eligible for.

Shared Parental Leave and pay

You are your partner may be able to get shared parental leave and statutory shared parental pay if you’re:

  • Having a baby
  • Using a surrogate to have a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Fostering a child who you’re planning to adopt

Visit the Gov.UK website to find out about shared parental leave and pay and see what you might be eligible for.

What financial help is available?

There’s a range of funding available to help pay toward the cost of raising a family. Some is available to everyone, regardless of circumstances and how much you earn. Some funding is only available to certain families, and depends on the family situation and income.

Most of the financial entitlements can only be claimed when your child is born, but you may be able to get some money before the baby arrives – don’t miss out. Get more information below, or follow the link for other sources of funding and support for families.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant. Find out about the grant and whether you may be eligible.

Healthy Start Scheme

Find out about Healthy Start and whether you are eligible to get help to buy healthy food and milk as well as free vitamins.

Cost of living hub

If you’re feeling the squeeze, visit our cost of living hub. If you’re struggling, there is a lot of support out there.

Your new baby!

Congratulations! Your baby’s here – life just got a whole lot busier!

You may be feeling joy, happiness, tiredness, stress and overwhelmed. However you’re feeling – it’s perfectly normal with such a huge change to your life. Most importantly, talk to your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor if you’re concerned about the way you’re feeling.

Below are some of the tasks you’ll need to complete over the next few weeks.

Registering the birth

Follow the link for information about registering a birth in Portsmouth.

Claiming entitlements

You’re eligible to claim most benefits as soon as your baby is born. Follow the link for information on financial family support.

If you’re already claiming benefits, contact the service who pays the benefit to update them of your change of circumstances. You may be entitled to more from these now that you have a child (or another child.)

If you’re in receipt of Housing Benefit, you need to let the Housing Benefit team know as another person in the home can affect the number of bedrooms you need – which will affect the amount of housing allowance you’ll receive. Follow the link for more information on Housing Benefit.

Register a Doctor and Dentist

You need to let your GP Surgery know when your baby is born and they’ll give you an application to register your baby there. If you’re not registered yourself, use the NHS Choices website to search for your nearest surgery with current vacancies.

You won’t be able to arrange an appointment for your baby, until they have registered so don’t wait until your baby requires medical attention to do this. Processing your registration can take up to a week so it’s best to apply nice and early.

It may seem a little odd registering your baby at a Dentist when they have no teeth, but we’d advise you do this early on as there could be a waiting list.

It’s advised you start taking your child to the dentist from a young age so that they get used to going. The Dentist’s receptionist will suggest when your child should first attend – it could be as early as six months. Find a dentist at the NHS Choices website.

Health Visitors and Community Health Nurses can offer advice and information on topics such as; infant feeding/healthy eating, keeping your child safe, childhood immunisations, sleep, behaviour, child development and groups and activities to support you and your child. They can also weigh your baby. If you would like to speak to the Health Visiting team or book a face to face appointment at one of the clinics across the city, call 0300 123 6629, Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 4.00pm.

Parent and baby groups

Parent and Baby groups provide parents with a great opportunity to meet other parents, get advice from professionals and generally have fun with your baby.

Some groups are focused on particular themes such as:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby massage
  • Learning through music

Follow the Family Information Service on social media for regular updates on what is running in the city, speak to your Health Visitor or Community Health Nurse or contact your local Family Hub.

Family Information Service Facebook page

Family Information Service Instagram page

Sign up to Family Assist

Family Assist is an innovative way of ensuring that parents and their friends and families have access to a wide range of information and resources, both local and national, at their fingertips. Visit the Family Assist website to find out more and register.