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Registered Charity Number 1151980

Company Number 08013774

Maternity Services

When a woman finds out she is pregnant

When a woman first learns that she’s pregnant, it’s important she contact an NHS professional as soon as possible. This is so that she can start her antenatal care, and to make sure that she receives maternity healthcare that takes account of all her health needs and preferences.

Her first antenatal appointment will be when she tells a healthcare professional that she is pregnant. The second antenatal appointment should take place when she is between 8–12 pregnant. It is called a booking appointment.

It is Important a woman first contact a healthcare professional about her pregnancy by 8 weeks of pregnancy so that she can arrange her booking appointment at 12 weeks.

She can

  • Go to her GP
  • Book an appointment directly with a midwife at a hospital antenatal clinic

At Imperial College Healthcare trust which includes Queen Charlotte and Chelsea hospital and St Mary’s hospital she can also

  • Call the Maternity Helpline on 020 3312 6135 where a midwife can take her referral.

More information on starting antenatal care can be found at this link

Booking appointment

If a woman doesn’t speak English, she should let her midwife know and arrangements will be made for an interpreter.

Health during pregnancy

As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant it is important she consider her health and lifestyle habits as they will now have an effect on her pregnancy.

  • Foods to avoid
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol, pills, medicine or other drugs
  • Exercise – keeping active
  • Infections that may affect your baby
  • Staying healthy at work

You can get information on the above at this link


It is best to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but when a woman is pregnant she will need to take some supplements as well.

  • 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and if you breastfeed
  • 400 micrograms of folic acid each day – ideally you should take this from before you are pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant

Vitamin A supplements should not be taken, or any supplements containing vitamin A, as too much could harm the baby.

More information on Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy can be found at this link.

Your Rights

Everyone can access Maternity services in the UK regardless of immigration status.Depending on a woman’s immigration status she may be charged but they can’t refuse to provide her with care regardless of her ability to pay.

Maternity Action -

Maternity Action is an organisation that offers information and advice on Maternity rights.

Maternity Action ADVICE line – 0845 600 8533

Some of the Maternity Action Information sheets with information on the following can also be downloaded here:

Who is entitled to free NHS Maternity care? To find out more about who is entitled to free NHS maternity care you can download an information sheet from Maternity action at this link.

EU nationals and family members For more info on maternity care for EU, EEA, Swiss nationals and family members see information sheets at this link.

Asylum seekersWomen who have submitted a claim for asylum which has not been determined, or who have submitted an appeal or a fresh claim which has not been determined. You can download the Maternity action information sheet at this link.

Refugees For more info on Maternity care for women whose claim for asylum has been accepted and who have refugee status download the info sheet at this link

Refused (failed) asylum seekers For more info on Maternity care for women whose asylum claim and any subsequent appeals have been refused download the info sheet at this link

No recourse to public funds For more info on Maternity care for those with no recourse to public funds download the info sheet at this link.

Undocumented migrants For more info on Maternity care for undocumented migrants download the info sheet at this link.

Indefinite leave: For more info on Maternity care for women who have indefinite leave to remain, right of abode or UK citizenship download the info sheet at this link.