Pregnancy and financial support

There is no denying that having a child can be costly. If you are worried about your finances and whether you will be able to support a child, there are a few ways we can help you.

Healthy Start - food and milk

Healthy Start is a local programme that assists with buying healthy food and milk if you have a child under 4 years old. You receive a Healthy Start card with money on it, which you can use to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

You can also use your card to collect:

  • vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old   

Your employment

You may be feeling concerned as to how maternity or paternity leave may impact your employment. Don't worry, there are laws in place to protect you, and your employment status, during and after your pregnancy.     

Maternity and paternity leave

Check if you can get:

  • Statutory maternity leave or pay
  • Statutory paternity leave or pay
  • Maternity Allowance

Help paying for childcare

Government help with childcare costs for parents. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support.

Tax-free childcare for 0 to 11 years old

For working families, including the self-employed who:

  • earn under £100,000 and at least £152 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each
  • aren't receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
  • have children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled)

For every £8 you pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year.

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. You usually qualify for the grant if:

  • you’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already
  • you or your partner already get certain benefits

You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after the baby’s birth.

You do not have to pay the grant back and it will not affect your other benefits or tax credits.

Benefits and financial support for families

Help if you look after children or plan to have or adopt a child. Check benefits and financial support you can get including benefit calculators:

  • Child Benefit
  • time off and pay when you have or adopt a child
  • support for separated families
  • support for disabled children
  • help with childcare costs
  • other support

Last updated 31 March 2023