Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a national scheme that aims to help improve the health of pregnant women and families on benefits and low incomes. Through the scheme, you get vouchers that you can use to buy fresh fruit, veg and milk. You also get coupons for free vitamins that are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and for little ones. Your health visitor or a member of your local Surestart Children’s Centre team can help you apply for Healthy Start.

Applying for Healthy Start

Applying for Healthy Start is easy – you can complete the application form online. You’ll need to ask your midwife or health visitor to complete part B of the form.

Who for ?

Pregnant women and children aged between one and four years old get one voucher per week.

How much?

The vouchers are worth £3.10, children under a year old get two £3.10 vouchers, worth £6.20 per week.

What can you spend them on?

The vouchers can be spent on cow’s milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk that is suitable from birth.

Pregnant women, women with a baby under 12 months, and children aged between a month and four years old who are receiving Healthy Start vouchers are also entitled to free Healthy Start Vitamins. You’ll find a vitamin coupon attached to your Healthy Start vouchers every eight weeks.

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to work properly. You get most vitamins from a healthy balanced diet, but at certain times in your life – like when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you might need to boost your vitamin intake by taking a supplement to make sure you get everything you need.

What’s in the vitamin tablets and why are they important?

Healthy Start vitamins


The Healthy Start vitamins for women contain:

  • Folic acid, which reduces the chance of your baby having a birth defect called spina bifida, where the spine doesn’t form properly
  • Vitamin C, which helps your body tissues to stay healthy
  • Vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb the mineral calcium, needed for healthy bones

Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops contain:

  • Vitamin A, which is important for growth, being able to see in dim light and for healthy skin
  • Vitamin C, which helps maintain healthy tissue in the body
  • Vitamin D, which you need for strong bones and teeth

Don’t worry, Healthy Start vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and are also free from milk, egg, gluten, soya and peanut residues, so you can take them even if you’re allergic to those things.

Useful links


Page last reviewed: 13-10-2017

Next review due: 13-10-2020