Early Years

Antenatal Education

Face to face antenatal education workshops are now available across the borough. These sessions are delivered collaboratively across our midwifery service, health visiting teams, Be Well and Start Well Family Centres.

Structured antenatal education can help expectant parents to be well informed about pregnancy birth and parenting. Attending antenatal education workshops are a great way for expectant parents to gain greater understanding about what is happening during this time, offer support and guidance about keeping healthy during pregnancy and how they can give their unborn babies the best start in life. They can help ease anxieties about labour and birth, offer a space to ask questions and gain further information and support psychological preparation for parenthood.

Our sessions run in blocks of four weeks and provide information and support around antenatal wellness, infant feeding, labour and birth and advice for when it’s time to take your newborn baby home.

Sessions are held on weekdays at Ince Start Well Family Centre, Westleigh Family Centre, and the Meadows Centre so you can choose a venue that suits you the best. You can book onto sessions using the QR code below.

Healthy Start Voucher and Vitamin Scheme

Good nutrition and a healthy, well-balanced diet are important during pregnancy and in the early years of a child’s life. It not only provides young children with all the vital nutrients they need to grow and develop properly, but it also lays down the foundations of healthy eating habits for later life.

The Healthy Start Scheme is an NHS scheme that helps people who are pregnant or have young children and are in receipt of benefits, to buy certain types of milk, first infant formula and fruit and vegetables.

Healthy Start image

You may be eligible for the Healthy Start Voucher Scheme if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have at least one child under 4 years old and are in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income based job seekers allowance
  • Pension credit (must include the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (if take home pay is £408 or less per month)
  • Child Tax Credit (if family annual  income is £16,190 or less)
  • The scheme is universal for mothers under the age of 18’s (qualify regardless of income level).

If you are eligible for the scheme, you will receive £4.25 each week from the 10th week of pregnancy right the way through until your child is 4 years old. This benefit is doubled to £8.50 a week for children from birth to one year.

The benefit is per child not per household and money is added to a Prepaid Mastercard, this is automatically topped up every four weeks.

Essential Parent

Essential Parent is one of the world’s leading online resources for expert-led, evidence-based parental advice. All of the baby care advice is supported by the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health and follows expert advice from UNICEF UK Baby Friendly initiative.

The platform includes a range of written and video content to support parents on a range of physical, mental health and wellbeing topics from pregnancy right through to adolescence.

The Essential Parent library includes information on:

  • Contraception and fertility
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Baby care 0-1
  • Toddler care 1-3
  • Child care 3-12
  • Teen care 13-19

Essential Parent also offers an e-Care delivery system which allows digital content to be electronically delivered to parents and carers from health and care professionals they may see at key contacts on their journey though parenthood.

Practitioners can choose to send standard resources created by experts and professionals or send personalised bundles of videos, leaflets and articles that they have created on key subject matters or for a particular parent/ or set of parents.

Bundles can be created using both GM and local resources and these may be issue specific or cover a broad topic. The parent or carer will receive an email with a tailored welcome message and a link to access the resources in their own time.

Health Visitors

The Health Visiting Service offer is available to all children and families, including children with additional health needs.

We provide advice, information and support to families and children and help parents make decisions that improve their family’s future health and well-being.

© Wigan Council