NHS services for new parents
Register your baby with your GP as early as possible in case you need their help.
You can contact your GP at any time, whether it's for you or your child.
If you move, register with a new GP close to you as soon as possible.
If your baby is not yet registered with a GP but needs to see one, you can receive emergency treatment from any GP surgery.
How your health visitor can help
A health visitor will usually visit you at home for the first time around 10 days after your baby is born. Until then you'll be cared for by local midwives.
A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They're there to help you, your family and your new baby stay healthy.
Your health visitor can visit you at home, or you can see them at your child health clinic, GP surgery or health centre, depending on where they're based.
Talk to your health visitor if you’re struggling with your mental health. They can give you advice and suggest where to find help.
They may also be able to put you in touch with groups where you can meet other parents.
Child health clinics
You can also talk about any problems to do with your child, but if your child is ill and likely to need treatment, see your GP.
Some child health clinics also run mother and baby, parent and toddler, breastfeeding, and peer support groups.
Local authority services
Sure Start children's centres provide family health and support services, early learning, and full-day or temporary care for children from birth to 5 years.
They also provide advice and information for parents on a range of issues, from parenting to training and employment opportunities. Some have special services for young parents.
Family Information Service’s (FIS) aims to help you support your children by providing information for parents.
Each FIS has close links with children's centres, Jobcentre Plus, schools, careers advisers, youth clubs and libraries.
They offer information about local childcare services and availability, and can help you if you need childcare for a child with a disability or special needs.
You can find out if these services are available in your area by contacting your local council. Find your local council on the GOV.UK website.
Local advice centres
Advice centres are non-profit agencies that give advice on issues such as benefits and housing.
You can search online for organisations such as:
- Citizens Advice
- community law centres
- welfare rights offices
- housing aid centres
- neighbourhood centres
- community projects
To help you get the most out of services:
- write down what you want to talk about and what information you can give that'll be helpful
- tell the person you are talking to if you do not understand them – you could ask them to write down what they are saying
There may be support available if English is not your first language. Ask your health visitor what is available in your area.
Websites, helplines and support groups for parents
Contact: for families with disabled children
Support, advice and information for parents with disabled children.
- helpline: 0808 808 3555
- website: https://contact.org.uk/
An organisation providing immediate help from volunteer parent support workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- helpline: 0808 800 2222
- website: www.familylives.org.uk
Family Rights Group
Support for parents and other family members whose children are involved with or need social care services.
- helpline: 0808 801 0366
- website: www.frg.org.uk
Gingerbread: single parents, equal families
Help and advice on the issues that matter to lone parents.
- helpline: 0808 802 0925
- website: www.gingerbread.org.uk
Parent and baby groups
To find out about local groups:
- ask your health visitor or GP
- look on noticeboards and for leaflets at your local child health clinic, health centre, GP's waiting room, children's centre, library, advice centre, supermarket or newsagent
- search on the internet, on social media or your local council’s website
In some areas, there are groups that offer support to parents who share the same background and culture. Many of these are women's or mothers' groups.
Lots of children's centres also run fathers' groups and groups for teenage parents.
Your health visitor may know whether there are any groups like these near you.
Video: What does a health visitor do?
In this video, a health visitor explains the role of health visitors and the support they offer to new parents.
Media review due: 5 April 2023