Information Service for Parents

Questions about the Start4Life Information Service for Parents

What is the Start4Life Information Service for Parents?

The Service offers a series of emails and text messages for mums, dads and partners. Parents can sign up to receive either:

  • both emails and text messages
  • just emails
  • just text messages

You can also join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive regular emails and/or text messages tailored to your stage of pregnancy or child’s age. They cover a range of topics, including your baby’s development, preparing for labour, coping with sleepless nights, looking after your own health, choosing childcare, making sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to, and who’s there to support you.

The emails link to trusted, regularly updated sources of NHS-accredited health information, such as the pregnancy and baby guide on NHS Choices and also link to other useful sources of information about parenting, money and rights. The NHS Choices guide was originally based on the Department of Health’s Pregnancy and Birth to Five books.

The text messages will provide information and advice, plus the telephone numbers to helplines you can call for further support.

Who's providing the Start4Life Information Service for Parents?

The Start4Life Information Service for Parents was launched in 2012 as a joint initiative by the NHS, Department of Health and Department for Education and is run by Public Health England. The aim is to make it easier for parents-to-be and mums and dads to access reliable information about pregnancy and bringing up a child in a healthy way.

What is Start4Life?

Start4Life is the sister brand of Change4Life, Public Health England’s healthy living initiative. Start4Life aims to improve the health of babies and children under five in England by encouraging a healthy lifestyle – helping parents-to-be and mums and dads to give their children the best possible start.

Can you include a link to my organisation?

We link to a wide range of websites in these emails. All links have to meet our key criteria for website links. Read our website linking policy (PDF, 97kb) and if you think your website content meets our key criteria, email us and we’ll get back to you.

Can I give feedback on the service?

Yes, we welcome all feedback. Simply email us to tell us what you think of the emails and text messages.

From time to time, we will invite users to participate in surveys to find out what you like and dislike about the emails and text messages, and what you think could be improved.

Is the service available in other languages?

You can translate our emails, using Google Translate, into 12 languages by clicking on the language links at the top of any email you receive. You will need Javascript enabled for this to work.

The translation is done by Google Translate, which is a ‘machine translation’ engine that uses mathematical algorithms when translating. As a result, the translated text is not of the same quality as if it had been translated by a human translator. This also means that there is a difference in quality of translation between the languages. You may wish to seek further advice from your GP, midwife or health visitor before relying on information translated by Google Translate.

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Email questions

Are the emails free?

Yes, the emails are free.

How can I unsubscribe from the emails?

To unsubscribe from the emails, click on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of any email you receive from us.

How can I update the information I’ve given?

If you want to update any of the information you provided when you signed up, click on the ‘Manage settings’ link in the footer of any email you receive from us.

Who can sign up?

Mums and dads expecting a baby, their partners, or parents who have a child up to four years old can sign up for emails.

Why can't I sign up for older babies, toddlers and children?

At the moment, the service provides information and advice on pregnancy, babies and children up to four years old.

However, we are gradually extending the service to include older children. When the extended service becomes available, parents will also be able to sign up to receive emails for older children.

Do the emails just stop when my child is four years old?

No, the emails won’t just stop when your child is four years old. We are gradually extending the service, so you can expect to receive follow-on emails.

How often will I get emails?

The emails are weekly during pregnancy and until your baby is three months old. When your baby is three to nine months old, you’ll receive emails every two weeks. Once your child is 10 months old, you’ll receive monthly emails. Then, once your child is four years old, you’ll receive emails every two months.

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Text message questions

How can I sign up for text messages?

You can sign up to receive text messages by clicking on the ‘Manage settings’ link in the footer of any email you receive from us.

Are the text messages free?

Once you’ve signed up, all the text messages you receive from the service are free.

However, if you choose to unsubscribe via your phone, by texting STOP to 80858 you would have to pay for this text and the exact cost would depend on your service provider. However, you also have the option of unsubscribing for free online – by clicking on the ‘Manage settings’ link in the footer of any email you receive from us.

I want to stop receiving texts. What do I do?

Click on the ‘Manage settings’ link in the footer of any email you receive from us. You can then choose to opt out of receiving texts.

Alternatively text STOP to 80858 from your phone – you will have to pay for the cost of this text. Note this option doesn’t work if you’re with Lycamobile.

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For health professionals

Why should I promote this service to parents?

Support for parents from early pregnancy onwards is important for parents themselves and for their children’s future outcomes. This digital service will complement your face-to-face consultations with parents and give them trusted advice on issues that they can discuss in more depth with you at their next appointment.

It will also offer a new way to support vulnerable parents and minority groups, directing them to information that is available when they need it, in accessible formats including video, and in translation.

How can I find out more about the content of the emails and texts?

The content library has links to all the emails and texts so you can see exactly what parents will receive.

How can I help parents sign up?

Tell them about the service at the earliest contact in pregnancy – the booking-in appointment or first visit to the GP – and continue to remind parents to sign up if they haven’t already, including at health visitor appointments after the baby is born.

How can I help a parent unsubscribe in the event of a bereavement?

Contact our helpdesk on 0845 458 0159. You will need to know each parent's email address and mobile phone number to unsubscribe them.

How do I know the service is trustworthy and secure?

The service will only signpost clinical information that is quality assured and regularly checked.

Health professionals and parents along with key organisations such as Royal College of Midwives, Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and others have been involved in developing and user testing the service.

Parents can opt out of the service at any time.

As a government department, we do not share data with other organisations unless the law permits us to do so. We do not sell individuals' information. We will share it only with our authorised Data Processors, who must act at all times on our instructions as the Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Can I give feedback on the service?

Yes, we welcome all feedback. It will help us improve the service and keep it up to date. Simply send us an email.

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I can’t find the answer to my question about the Start4Life Information Service for Parents on this page. Who can I ask?

Email us your question. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of your child you should contact your health professional or call NHS 111.

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Health professionals

Health professionals and the public can phone 0845 458 0159 if there is a need to contact us urgently regarding the Start4Life Information Service for Parents emails or texts.

For all other queries regarding Start4Life, call 0300 123 4567 or 0300 123 1003 (minicom).

General feedback

We welcome all feedback. Please tell us what you think of the service.

Give feedback

Sign up for the Start4Life Information Service for Parents

Receive free emails and text messages covering all key pregnancy and baby topics. You can sign up whether you’re pregnant, a dad-to-be, partner of a mum-to-be, or already a parent.


Check out the rest of the Start4Life website for more information and advice on giving your baby a healthier start in life.