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Life Events

Congratulations, You're Having A Baby


An insight into some of the services that may be available to new parents and baby

Just found out that you are pregnant?

Your first step should be to contact your GP. Your GP can confirm your pregnancy, give you advice and support and arrange your antenatal care.

If you do not have a GP you should register with one immediately - for a list of GPs in your area click here.

Your Health during Pregnancy

The BBC provides comprehensive details on becoming a parent. Including advice about vitamins and supplements; healthy eating; pregnancy and weight; smoking during pregnancy; drinking alcohol; pills, medicine and other drugs; fitness; and dealing with emotions.

Pregnancy Complications

You should be able to speak to your GP or midwife at any time, but if you think something may be seriously wrong, contact them or your local hospital immediately for advice and help. NHS Direct offers general information and details of publications about pregnancy complications including ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and stillbirth.

The Miscarriage Association also provides support and information for those suffering the effects of pregnancy loss.

Antenatal Care

If you have booked a hospital birth, you may be able to go to NHS antenatal classes at Tameside General Hospital or at your local clinic. You may also be able to do these if you have booked a home birth with NHS midwives.

NHS antenatal classes are taught by midwives who are very knowledgeable about labour and birth, and also the hospital's policies and procedures. Classes will include information about what labour is like, pain relief, interventions and Caesarean birth.  You will also learn about the skills you need as a parent, such as how to bath a baby and changing nappies.

Tameside General Hospital runs Early Bird classes which also give you the opportunity to visit the hospital and include a tour of the maternity unit.

The classes are free and are a great opportunity to meet other parents-to-be and share their experiences.

If you wish to go to NHS antenatal classes let your midwife know as soon as possible.

The Birth

BBC Online explains what you can expect during labour, how you might deal with it and what will happen during childbirth. A hospital birth is described, but this section will also be useful if you are having a home birth. It may help to have someone present during your labour and this information should also be useful for them.

Grants and Benefits

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

This is a weekly amount that you may be able to get from your employer. The amount of SMP depends on how much you earn. SMP can be paid for up to 18 weeks. For more information about SMP you can visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Picture of a baby boy
Maternity Allowance (MA)

Maternity Allowance provides you with some money to help you take time off work for the birth of your baby. It is paid up to a maximum of 26 weeks and is not subject to tax and National Insurance.

View more information on Maternity Allowance at Directgov Link to External Website

Incapacity Benefit

If you cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay or MA, you may be able to get Incapacity Benefit. If the normal conditions for payment are satisfied, benefit is paid for 6 weeks before the week your baby is due and 14 days after the baby is born.

Information about Incapacity Benefit can be found at Link to External Website.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

You can get a Sure Start Maternity Grant if you or your partner are getting Income Support, Income based Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit (which includes an amount higher than the family element) or Working Tax Credit where a disability or severe disability element is included in the award.

For more information about Sure Start you can visit the Department for Work and Pensions website.

Child Benefit

Child benefit is a benefit for people bringing up children. It is paid for each child under 16 or under 19 in certain circumstances. Claim as soon as your child is born. For more information about Child Benefit you can visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Local Benefits Office

For more detail about benefits you can contact your local benefits office or look at the Department for Work and Pensions Link to External Website website.

Pregnancy and Work

Maternity LeavePicture of a baby sleeping on a mother's shoulder

All employees are entitled to 18 weeks ordinary maternity leave whether or not they qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. In addition, employees who have worked for the same employer for at least one year before the 11th week before their baby is due, are entitled to additional maternity leave which lasts for 29 weeks from the start of the week in which the baby is born.

Parental Leave

Employees whose child is born or adopted on or after 15th December 1999 and who have worked for the same employer for at least one year, are entitled to 13 weeks parental leave to care for the child.

You may be able to get Income Support when on unpaid statutory parental leave if you are:

  • Sick or disabled
  • A lone parent or
  • On a low income

and when you were working you were getting any of the following:

  • Working Tax Credit/Child Credits
  • Housing Benefit or
  • Council Tax Benefit

All employees also have the right to take time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. This right is not affected by the length of employment.

After the birth

Visit the National Childbirth Trust website for more information regarding breastfeeding and parenting.


Surestart Tameside provides objective, impartial information about all aspects of childcare and returning to work.  Their extensive range of information covers:

  • playgroups
  • nannies
  • nurseries
  • childminders
  • crèches
  • babysitters

Surestart can give you advice and help you make an informed choice about the childcare that will suit you and your child.

Meeting other new parents and babies

There are a variety of different groups in Tameside that give new parents the opportunity to meet with other new parents whilst spending quality time with your baby.

Wally Walrus Club

The Wally Walrus Club is a swimming club for parents and children under the age of five. The clubs are held at a number of local pools throughout Tameside. There is a cost for the sessions but you can get the costs reduced with a Tameside Leisure Pass.

Visit Tameside Sports Trust Link to External Website website.

Toddler Groups

These are groups run by parents with young children and give the opportunity for you to socialise whilst allowing your child to interact with other children.

Guide to Toddler Groups.

BookstartPicture of a boy with a pile of books

Its never too early to start reading books to your baby! Bookstart is a project that gives free books to babies at their 34 week clinic appointment. View more information on Bookstart.

Starting School

Before you know it you'll be looking at schools for your child! Find out more on starting school.

Searching the Birth Indexes

You can search through the birth Indexes online by visiting Link to External Website