Free prescriptions and NHS dental care in pregnancy

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 am I entitled to?

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

But 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 £9.35 (2021/22) on each prescription.
  • In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, prescriptions are free for everyone.

How can I claim these free services?

Do I qualify?

If you’re 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. 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 a form FP64.

Making your dental appointment

Did You Know?

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

Many of us put off making dentist appointments. 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.

In England, booking an appointment now will save you the £23.80 that you’d normally have to pay for a check-up or up to £282.80 for more expensive treatments such as a bridge or crown.

In Wales, booking an appointment now will save you the £14.70 you’d normally have to pay for a check-up. Or up to £203 for more expensive treatments, such as a bridge or crown.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, anyone not eligible for free dental treatment or help with costs must pay 80% of the cost of their dental treatment. This is capped at £384.

Make 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 dates related to your pregnancy and new baby.

It’s easy to fill out and helps you work out if you’re getting all the financial support available to you.

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

You have nothing to lose from completing it and it could save you a lot of money.

Also read our guide on Benefits and entitlements you can claim when you have a baby.

More information

For more tips to keep prescription costs down, check out MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap & Free Prescriptionsopens in new window.

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