Register a Birth

Please contact Essex County on 0845 603 7632, Castlepointandrochford.ro@essex.gov.uk, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 12 noon or visit the Essex County Council - Registering a Birth information page.

Listed below is some helpful advice about pregnancy and birth

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.

Need information or advice about contraception?

The self-help guide provided by the NHS gives extensive information and impartial advice on the different types of contraception available. Topics covered include 'Which contraception is for me' and 'emergency contraception.

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. you can visit the website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/

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 - please visit the website at http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/ or call them on 0845 4647. 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 the 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.

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.

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 Department for Work and Pensions Website.

Maternity Allowance (MA)

This is a benefit paid weekly by the Benefits Agency to pregnant women who cannot get SMP and to the self-employed. MA can be paid for up to 18 weeks. For more information about MA you can visit the the Department for Work and Pensions Website.

Incapacity Benefit

If you are not entitled to get either SMP or MA, you may be able to get some Incapacity Benefit instead. This will depend on your National Insurance contributions in recent years. Your maternity certificate (form MATB1) is accepted as evidence of incapacity for work for the period starting six weeks before the week the baby is due, to 14 days after the date on which the baby is born. For more information about Incapacity Benefit you can visit the the Department for Work and Pensions Website.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

If you or your partner are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Working Families' Tax Credit or Disabled Person's Tax Credit, you may be able to get a Sure Start Maternity Grant from the Social Fund. For more information about Sure Start you can visit the 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 Department for Work and Pensions Website.

Local Benefits Office

For more detail about benefits you can contact your local benefits office by looking at the Department for Work and Pensions Website.

Pregnancy and work

Maternity Leave

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.

During pregnancy women are allowed reasonable paid time off work for antenatal care. For further information see the Department of Trade & Industry's information leaflets, Changes to Maternity Rights and URN99/1191 Maternity Rights: a guide for employees and their employers . Alternatively, you can visit the Department of Trade & Industry's website at https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave

Both of these leaflets are also available from your local Jobcentre.

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

Details are covered in leaflets URN99/1187 and URN99/1192 available from your local Jobcentre.
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 Families' Tax Credit
  • Disabled Person's Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • or Council Tax Benefit

Contact the Council

Phone: 01268 882200
Fax: 01268 882455
Email: info@castlepoint.gov.uk

Council Opening Times:

Monday-Thursday: 08:45 - 17:15
Friday: 08:45 - 16:45