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Are pregnant women entitled to free NHS prescriptions?

Yes. If you're pregnant, you're entitled to free NHS prescriptions as long as you have a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate or card (MatEx).

How to apply for a maternity exemption certificate

You should apply for a maternity exemption certificate using application form FW8, available from your midwife, GP or health visitor. They will also need to sign the form.

The certificate will be valid from one month before the date the application is received until:

  • 12 months after the expected date of the baby's birth, or
  • if the baby has already been born, 12 months after their date of birth

How to claim a refund for prescriptions before you receive your certificate

You can claim money back for any charges you paid on or after the start date of your exemption certificate. When you pay, ask your pharmacist for an official NHS receipt – form FP57 in England or WP57 in Wales – and refund claim form when you pay.

Free NHS prescriptions after your baby is born

You're also entitled to free NHS prescriptions for 12 months after your baby is born. You will need to show a valid maternity exemption certificate to prove your entitlement.

If you did not apply for a maternity exemption certificate while you were pregnant, you can still apply at any time in the 12 months after your baby is born.

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.    

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 19/07/2016

Next review due: 19/07/2019