Free vitamins for pregnant women and young children!
Public Information: Healthy Start is here to help pregnant women and young children get the very best start in life.
If you are pregnant or you have a child under four and you are claiming benefits you could get vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, and vitamins absolutely free!
In order to qualify, you need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old AND you or your family get:
You can qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.
If you do not qualify for this scheme, you can still buy the Healthy Start Vitamins from distribution centres in Hertfordshire (please see section on How do I get these vitamins?)
A healthy diet is important for everyone young and old but especially for pregnant women.
It is crucial that as a pregnant woman, you have the right amount of vitamins both in the early stages of pregnancy when the baby is forming. Also, after the birth of your baby as you will need to maintain the right vitamin levels, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Healthy Start Vitamins contains the right amount of vitamins for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It contains:
Folic Acid which helps to reduce the chances of a baby being born with a neural tube defect such as spinal bifida (a birth defect where the spine does not form properly).
You should also try and eat plenty of foods containing folate- the natural form of folic acid. Good food sources include: broccoli, peas, chickpeas and brussels sprouts.
Vitamins D - “the sunshine vitamin” helps to keep your bones and teeth healthy. It is important for you to get enough Vitamin D whilst you are pregnant to provide your baby with enough Vitamin D to support them in their first few months.
Whilst breastfeeding, your baby will get Vitamin D from your breast milk, so you need to take a Vitamin D supplement during this time.
The main source for Vitamin D is summer sunlight, which in the UK we don’t get enough of! Foods like oily fish, eggs, fortified margarine and breakfast cereals can help with increasing your Vitamin D intake. But it is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from food alone.
All pregnant and breastfeeding women, particularly teenagers, young women and young children, are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. People of Asian, African- Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin and those who spend lots of time indoors or who cover up their skin are particularly at risk.
Vitamin C - helps to maintain healthy tissue in the body. The body does not store Vitamin C, so it is important to have foods which contain this vitamin every day.
Foods which contain Vitamin C include: peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, oranges and kiwi fruit.
Whereas, Healthy Start children’s drops contain: Vitamin A, C and D.
Once you have filled in and sent off the Healthy Start application form, you will receive a response within 2 weeks.
If you qualify, The Department of Health will send you Healthy Start vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk every four weeks.
If your pregnant, or have a child under four, you will also get coupons for free vitamins. Vitamin tablets for you and drops for your baby or child, These coupons come in the post every eight weeks.
The coupons will look something like this:
Vitamins coupons can be exchanged for the vitamins through health visitors, health centres, children’s centres and pharmacies in Hertfordshire.
Here is a map of all the distribution centres where you can obtain Healthy Start vitamins
Click on on map to open larger version.
Distribution centres exchanging and selling vitamins
For the information about distribution centres outside Hertfordshire, please visit: www.nhs.uk/healthystart