If you are expecting a baby you will have many new issues to consider. Here are a few guidelines and links to relevant websites to help steer you through some of the choices open to you during your pregnancy and childbirth.
Our factsheet, Information for new families, may be helpful to you as you begin this journey. For more helpful information, visit the BBC website – Pregnancy.
The best way to discover the options open to you in your area is to discuss them with your GP. A GP will put you in touch with your local midwife who may be based at the surgery, a local healthcare clinic or hospital.
Maternity leave and pay
The laws around maternity leave and pay were changed in October 2008, so make sure you are working with the latest facts. Visit the websites below for the most up-to-date information.
It is important to remember that the choice of where to have your baby is yours. Options include hospitals, birth centres or home. Take time during your pregnancy to decide which would suit you best.
Registering a birth
You must register a baby within 42 days of the birth. Usually the mother will register the birth, although the father is also eligible providing he was married to the mother at the time of the birth. You do not need to supply any documents, although the baby's discharge notes may be useful.
From choosing whether or not to breast feed to when to introduce solids, deciding what to feed your child can be daunting. The links below offer some helpful advice.
Health and immunisation
A baby becoming ill can be a parent's worst nightmare so check the links below for advice on immunisation and some helpful links to healthcare professionals.
Having a baby can be a very difficult time and sometimes new parents may find it hard to cope. There are a range of support services on hand to help with any problems, so don't suffer alone.
Benefits and tax credits
There are a range of benefits and tax credits for parents. Here are some websites that will guide you through what you are entitled to and how to claim.
If you decide to go back to work after having your baby you will need childcare. From childminders to nurseries there is a wide range available. Here is some information to help you choose which is best for you and how to find it in your area.