All women in the UK are entitled to NHS maternity care, regardless of nationality or immigration status - or their ability to pay for the care.

You must never be refused NHS maternity care, even if you are not able to pay for it or have not paid for previous NHS care. 

Maternity care includes pregnancy care, care during childbirth and care of mother and baby after birth.

Although all women in the UK are entitled to NHS maternity care, whether you will be charged for that care will depend on your nationality, immigration, and residence status at the time you receive that care.

NHS hospitals can ask for payment in advance of providing NHS treatment unless doing so would prevent or delay treatment termed ‘immediately necessary or urgent’ and providing the hospital has made reasonable enquiries as to whether you must pay for NHS treatment.

An ‘immediately necessary service’ includes all maternity care – including antenatal care, care in childbirth and postnatal care of mother and baby.

This means that your maternity care must never be refused or delayed, even if you have not agreed to pay charges, cannot afford to pay or there is a query about whether you are chargeable.

The Maternity Care Access Advice Service provides telephone and email advice and online information to help pregnant women from abroad with questions about how to access NHS maternity care and their entitlements.