Pregnant in London and don't know what to do

I have taken several pregnancy tests, and they are all positive. Now what? I am from the states and don't really know how things work in the UK. My husband and I live in London and I don't have a GP or any other health care professional to consult yet. Do I pick a GP and go there first? Or contact a hospital and maternity ward directly? How do I pick a hospital? There are so many in London and I really want to go to a safe one. What is my first step now?

4 Replies

  • Hello,

    Firstly, you do not mention if you are just visiting the UK or are actually resident here. If you are here permanently, you are entitled to free healthcare on the NHS. If you are only visiting then you will have to pay or use your insurance.


    If you are entitled to free NHS healthcare, first step is that you need to register with a GP that is in your local area. You can start here:

    Once you are registered with a GP, they will arrange for you to see a Midwife. The Midwife will register your pregnancy (this is called a 'Booking Appointment' which is mostly form filling), then she will arrange all of your scans etc.

    Unlike the US, here we cannot (unless we pay privately) pick and choose our midwife/hospital and you will be registered to the nearest one to your address. Sometimes if there is more than one maternity hospital unit close by you can choose. In terms of safety, we are not a third world country and I wouldn't worry!!

    If you are not here permanently, I think you can also register with a GP as a temporary resident, and they can arrange all of the above but you will be charged as you will basically be using the NHS services but not entitled to receive them for free.

    The other alternative is to go to a Private Pregnancy Centre. Google 'Provate Pregnancy Care London' and a load will come up. The Portland Hospital is the most known. This option will be very expensive though if your insurance doesn't cover it.

    I hope this helps & good luck!

  • Firstly, congratulations!! Your first step is to register with a GP. You'll have to bring proof of address and go into the surgery in person but once you're registered they will have you book an appointment with a midwife who will usually be based in your doctor's surgery. You will have regular appointments with her throughout your pregnancy and she will set up a scan for you at around 12 weeks and another one at 20 weeks. You will decide with your midwife where you would like to have your baby and you can go have a look at the various hospitals/ midwife-led units from which you can choose. There is also, of course the home birth option which is actually safer for mothers and babies if your pregnancy is low risk (NICE 2014). The good news is that you are safer in this country than you would have been back in the States where they have one of the highest neo-natal death rates in the developed world (thought widely to be due to the amount of interventions which are routinely practised on women regardless of necessity and the medicalisation of birth in general) n.b. I too am American so not biased. Read some informative books, Active Birth by Janet Balaskas, The New Experience of Pregnancy by Sheila Kitzinger and a booklet called 'Am I allowed' which is available through AIMS (Association of Improvements to Midwifery Services) should provide you with some empowering info and I'm sure you will be fine! All the best and look forward to hearing from you as your pregnancy progresses :)

  • Hi, an interesting article if you are still worried about healthcare in the UK :-)

  • If you live & work here, you should be able to register with you local GP. You could register with your husbands one if it makes things easier. Also, if you go online to NHS choices, you can now self refer. Depending where you live you may have a choice of hospitals you can choose from and as you say you live in London, there are probably a few within a couple of miles from each other so choose one that you feel you would be able to get too easily if you are not happy with your local one.

    This link may be able to help:

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