Having a baby is exciting but it can also be an expensive time and could put a strain on your finances.
If you have a partner, then it’s important to work together to manage your finances and set aside time for household budgeting. Any money worries could put an additional strain on your relationship during this time of change for both you and your partner.
In this section, you can find out where to go for help with budgeting, financial help and what benefits and entitlements you might be able to claim.
Before the baby arrives, there’s no better time to sit down and work out your budget and start planning ahead, especially if you will be losing an income for a while and need to find ways of cutting back.
The Money Advice Service has lots of information to help you manage your finances when you’re expecting a baby, including a budget planner to find out how much you’re spending each month and what you have leftover to put aside for a rainy day.
There will be a whole list of items and equipment that your baby will need and there is a useful baby costs calculator on the Money Advice Service website to help you work out how much it will all cost.
You are entitled to free prescriptions and NHS dental care while you are pregnant and for 12 months after your baby is born.
To claim these free services, you will need a maternity exemption certificate from your doctor or midwife. You can apply as soon as they confirm you are pregnant.
It will need to be signed and sent off by your midwife or doctor and you should receive the certificate in the post within 10 days.
You can also apply for maternity exemption certificate online.
Here are some of the benefits and entitlements that you or your partner may be able to claim during your pregnancy and once you have your baby.
Paid time off for maternity care
You are entitled to paid time off to attend your antenatal appointments in addition to your annual leave. This includes appointments with your doctor or midwife or parenting and relaxation classes that have been recommended by your doctor.
Your partner or co-parent is also entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend your antenatal appointments with you.
Statutory maternity leave and pay
You are entitled to a year’s maternity leave and pay from your employer for up to 39 weeks of your 52-week maternity leave. To be eligible you will need to have worked for your employer for over 26 weeks and be earning on average £120 a week.
If you can’t claim statutory maternity pay because you have not worked long enough for your employer, are self-employed or you earn less than £120 a week, then you will be entitled to claim maternity allowance from the government. You will need to fill in a maternity allowance claim form
Statutory paternity leave and pay
Your partner or co-parent can get one to two weeks’ paid time off work to help you in the early days. They will need to have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks or earn over £120 a week and will have to let their employer know 15 weeks before the week your baby is due.
Shared paternity leave and pay
You and your partner may be able to get shared parental leave and statutory shared parental pay. This means that you will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you in the first year of having your baby.
If you are struggling financially, then you may be eligible to apply for some short-term support. This could include supermarket vouchers, prepaid energy and clothing vouchers for school uniform or some basic household items.
Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) may be able to help you if you are facing difficulties managing your income because of an emergency.
Your local district council is able to offer some financial assistance if you are struggling to pay your rent through a Discretionary Housing Payment.
You can also speak to your local Citizen’s Advice for help with employment or financial issues by phone, email or online chat. Find your local branch on the Citizen’s Advice website.