Pregnancy and Parenting

  • Vaccines

    Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. They are safe and important, keeping your child free of diseases that can cause serious illness. All vaccinations for children under five are given in your local GP surgery. Make sure that your child is up-to-date and call your local surgery if you are unsure if your child is fully vaccinated, or if you think they may have missed a vaccination during Covid-19. You can see the schedule and more information about routine childhood vaccinations on the NHS website.

    During the flu season, make sure you’re in the know about the childhood flu vaccine, read our fact checker guide to childhood flu vaccine. Getting your children vaccinated is the best way to protect the more vulnerable members of the community against flu. Both the nasal spray, and a non-porcine alternative are now available for all children aged two to 12, and for all children with long-term health conditions.

    School-age children can catch-up at clinics run by Vaccination UK. To ensure clinics are safe, booking is essential, please contact or call 0208 017 7925. Talk to your GP practice if a younger child has missed their flu vaccination.

  • Pregnancy

    Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you need to get booked in with a local maternity service as soon as possible. You have a choice of which hospital to give birth at and where to have your antenatal appointments. Find a birth centre or maternity unit near you. Free vitamins are also available to all pregnant mothers. Keeping healthy during your pregnancy is also important. Find out how to eat well for you and your baby; healthy habits for your pregnancy and easy ways to get active.

    Once your baby is born, there is a wide range of services that are available to support you and your new family.

  • Bright Start, parent and child activities for under 5s

    Bright Start is our offer for children under fives and their families run in children’s centres, nurseries, health centres, community centres and libraries across Islington. Bright Start venues are places you can meet other parents, support each other, and get involved in improving what Bright Start offers.

    Find out about local activities

  • Feeding your baby

    Breast-feeding advice and support is available from a team of friendly and experienced Breastfeeding Supporters and helpers, who support parents and babies every day in the postnatal wards at UCLH, Whittington and the Royal Free hospitals. They also provide support on the phone, through home visits and at baby feeding cafes across Islington.

  • NHS Healthy Start Scheme

    Healthy Start financially helps pregnant women and families with children aged 3 and under to buy milk, fruit, vegetables, and infant formula.

    If you’re under 18 and pregnant, or pregnant or with a child aged 3 and under and on low income or certain benefits, you could be entitled to Healthy Start payments.

    Check if you’re eligible for the payments and apply online on the Healthy Start website.


    Healthy Start vitamins (drops and tablets) are also available free of charge for children up to the age 4 and if you trying for a baby, pregnant or breastfeeding. You can collect these from children’s centres and health centres by asking at reception.


  • Parenting Courses

    Being a parent is not easy and all families need help at some stage as children grow up. Islington offers a choice of parenting classes that are run in community venues around the borough for parents at all stages – from the early years to teenagers. These cover topics such as listening to children, problem solving, developing confidence as a parent and managing teenagers’ behaviour.

    Start4Life has lots of useful information, videos and online parenting courses.

    The Islington Family Directory is a comprehensive online guide to local services.

    Islington residents have access to a range of emotional wellbeing courses, to support you in your journey as a parent. These courses include; understanding your baby, understanding your teenager’s brain, understanding your child with additional needs, plus many more. The courses are all online and you have a lifetime access to them. Find out more and start your course Access code: Bright Start.

  • Families for Life Workshops

    Family for Life offers one-off healthy lifestyle telephone sessions or a four to six week virtual Family Kitchen programme.  The programme covers:

    • healthy eating and general healthy living
    • cooking and eating together

    You don’t need a referral. More information on how to book a place can be found on council website.


  • Mental health support

    Sometimes being a parent and family life can be really difficult, and mental health issues can have an impact. There are a number of local services which can support parents, carers and families get through the challenging times.

    Growing Together is a free NHS service for Islington families. We help mothers, fathers and other carers of children aged 1 -5 who are experiencing anxiety, stress, feeling down or having relationship difficulties, especially if they feel this is having an impact on their family life. Ask your GP, health visitor or children’s centre staff to refer you to Growing Together.

    Islington’s Families First service supports families with school aged children up to 19 years old. You can refer yourself to the service.

    The Parent and Baby Psychology Service is a team of clinical psychologists offering services such as counselling for people expecting a baby, and parents with a baby in the first year, who are finding becoming a parent challenging. Ask your GP, health visitor, midwife or children’s centre staff to make a referral.

    If you feel that you or your partner might need some extra support consider contacting your GP, midwife or health visitor for advice or contact your local children’s centre. Other services that provide a range of support services are:

    • iCope: 020 3317 5600 (provides free, confidential help for problems such as stress, anxiety and insomnia).
    • Pandas Foundation: 0843 2898401 (helpline and email support to parents affected by postnatal depression).
    • APNI (Association for Postnatal Illness): Helpline 0207 386 0868 (network of phone, e-mail and postal volunteers, who have had, and recovered from post-natal illness).