If you are pregnant in the UK, it can be a minefield trying to get your head around all of the things you need to do once you confirm your pregnancy. Firstly, congratulations and welcome to the club.
Here are my ten things to do once you find out you are pregnant in the UK.
Buy a small diary and notebook
Even in a straightforward pregnancy, you will still have a lot of appointments to remember. Midwife check-ups, scans, classes and shopping trips will all run into one after a while. Don’t let baby brain take hold and forget your appointments.
A small diary that fits into your handbag is ideal for keeping track of everything. Yes, you could use your phone but there is something nice about pen and paper. I love these diaries from Box Clever Press.
Another thing that will get to you during pregnancy is remembering all of the ‘things’. Now often you will think of what you need for the nursery at the most inconvenient time, a small notebook is ideal for leaving beside your bed so you can write things down when you are lying awake at 3 am.
Join my Facebook Group
One of my goals for 2022 is to grow my Facebook Group – Money matters for the Mum to Be. The goal of my group (and how it will be different to other groups) is for it to be a safe space to discuss money matters just for mums. Money is such a taboo subject and I really want to break that barrier down for all of us.
Membership is free and no judgy you know whats are allowed.
Organise your booking in appointment
The booking in appointment is where you register with your midwife. Services can vary from region to region but the first port of call should be your GP practice.
If you haven’t broken the news to anyone yet – especially work, you can pass this off as a medical appointment.
Midwife appointments are typically limited to certain days and times. It’s important to make sure you leave enough time to get the appointment timing right. The reason for this is that there are certain tests that are time-limited and you need to allow for these to be arranged in time. For example, some tests need to be done around the 12-week mark and if you leave it too late – you might miss out on these vital screening tests.
Get your partner to check their paternity leave policy
Dads have rights too when it comes to pregnancy and paternity leave. Get your partner to check their employer’s policies.
If nothing exists, they will be covered by the statutory paternity arrangements which is paid time off for two antenatal appointments and two weeks of statutory paternity leave.
Remember if your partner is self-employed then it’s up to them to decide what leave they are taking. Paternity leave is like maternity leave in that it only exists for those who are employed.
Ask your employer for a risk assessment
This is a right for every pregnant woman in the UK. As soon as you are ready to tell your employer, they should perform a risk assessment for you as soon as they can. Even if you work in an office and don’t perform anything manually, this is important. Something as simple as a special chair or footrest can vastly improve your comfort in the office.
Arrange time to attend your 12 week scan
Once you have booked in with your midwife, expect a letter to confirm your 12-week scan. As soon as you have the date, arrange the time off work and make any other arrangements you need.
Your partner could attend too (Covid regulations permitting) so ask them to arrange the time too.
Some hospitals will give you photo printouts. You might need to pay for these and often the machines to take payment only accept change. Find out how much they are and put the money aside as soon as you get your letter.
If your employer is awkward about you attending the appointment, remember this is a statutory right. Remind yourself of your pregnancy rights in the UK.
Arrange time to attend your 20 week scan
Once you have been to your twelve-week scan, the hospital should send you a letter to confirm your 20-week scan.
As soon as you have the date, make sure you make all of the necessary arrangements including booking time off, organising transport and finding change for your scan photo.
Although the 20-week scan might reveal the sex of your baby – the hospital will remind you that this is not the purpose of the appointment so don’t be disappointed if they can’t confirm what you are having (should you wish to know).
Ask your midwife for your MAT1B form
Once that 20-week scan is complete, your midwife or GP can issue your MAT1B form. This is the official record that you are pregnant and is the most important document in your possession right now! They will only issue one copy so best take a photo before you need to provide it to anyone.
The MAT1B form needs to be given to your employer to prove that you are expecting and they are required to pay your maternity pay (if you qualify).
If you don’t qualify for maternity pay, you may qualify for maternity allowance and this form is also required for the Department of Work and Pensions to process your claim.
Make sure you tell your employer!
Finally, make sure you actually tell your employer about your pregnancy. Don’t assume they know just because you appear to have a pillow in your jumper 🙂
Write to your employer 15 weeks before your due date at least. In the letter, you need to indicate when you intend to start your maternity leave and how long you intend to take. Also, attach a copy of your MAT1B form if you haven’t already done so.
Make sure you keep copies of any correspondence and you get a formal response that the person in charge of payroll has received the letter and acknowledged it.
Hand in a copy of your MAT1B form
Finally, make sure you hand in a copy of your MAT1B form. Don’t leave it in a crumpled heap in your handbag. Take a copy as soon as you get it and then hand it in.
Not sure what to do next? Download my FREE maternity leave planner and start planning your dream maternity leave.