Money Advice Service

Are you pregnant, or have you just had a baby? If so, you can keep costs down by getting free prescriptions and NHS dental care with a Maternity Exemption Certificate.

What you can get

NHS dental care is free in the UK while you’re pregnant, and for a whole year after your baby is born.

However, for prescriptions it depends on where you live:

  • In England, prescriptions are free while you’re pregnant and for a year after the birth, if you have a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate (MatEx). This could save you £8.20 per prescription
  • In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland prescriptions are free for everyone.

How you can claim these free services

Do you qualify?

If you are pregnant or have had a baby in the past 12 months, you qualify.

All you need is a Maternity Exemption Certificate signed by your doctor or midwife.

This certificate entitles you to free prescriptions and NHS dental care.

You can get the Maternity Exemption application form (FW8) from your doctor or midwife.

They’ll sign and send it in for you and you’ll receive your certificate in the post.

Show your certificate at the pharmacy when getting a prescription in England and tell the dentist’s receptionist you’re eligible for free NHS treatment because you’re pregnant when you make a dental appointment.

If your certificate doesn’t arrive in time

You can claim a refund if you’ve had to pay before your certificate arrives.

Just ask your pharmacist for a receipt and a claim form (FP57).

At your dentist you need form FP64.

Making your dental appointment

Did You Know?

All children receive free prescriptions until they are 16 (or 18 if in full-time education) and free dental care until they’re 18.

Many of us put it off, but it makes sense to see the dentist while it’s free.

You’re more likely to have sensitive teeth and gums while pregnant, so getting them checked might help ease any discomfort.

A check-up would otherwise cost you about £21.60, and any treatment you might need would cost even more – up to £256.50 for treatments such as:

  • bridges
  • crowns
  • dentures, or
  • root canals.

Free dentist appointments are an opportunity not to be missed.

Making sure you get everything you’re entitled to

There are other benefits and savings available for pregnant women and families.

Our Baby money timeline will give you a full personalised list of all the money-related dates to do with your pregnancy and new baby.

It includes everything from arranging your maternity leave and pay to claiming Child Benefit.

It is easy to complete and will help you work out if you are getting all of the financial support available to you.

You have nothing to lose from completing it, but potentially a lot to save.

Use our Baby money timeline.

For more information

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.