Did you know that all births in England and Wales must be registered within 42 days (six weeks) of the birth date?
With so much to think about, and caring for a newborn baby - especially if it is your first child, it's important to note this essential task must not be forgotten.
The registration of births in the UK is overseen by the General Register Office (GRO). You can go to any register office, though things will prove quicker if you go to the one in the same district in which your baby was born. This is because the registrar of a different district will have to forward your information to the district in which your baby was born in order for the registration to take place. The birth certificate will be forwarded to you from the district of birth.
If you are unsure of where to find your local register office, visit the website of your local council, or look in your local area phone book.
Married to the baby's parent at the time of birth or conception? Then either of you can register your baby's birth. If you were not married, but want the father's details to be entered on the register, then you will either both have to sign the birth register together, or, if one of you can't attend, then the other must show the registrar a statutory declaration acknowledging the paternity of the father. This form can be obtained from any registrar. If the father's details are not included in the birth register, it may be possible to re-register at a later date. Ask the registrar for clarification.
What information do I need to register my baby's birth?
You will need to inform the registrar of your baby's date and place of birth. If you had twins or triplets, you will need to know the times of birth, too.
The birth certificate will include your baby's sex, their full name, and your details.
Do ensure the information you give is correct, because it is difficult to change afterwards.
There are two types of birth certificate. The shorter version, which is free, contains only your baby's details. The full version also contains your details.
Once you have registered the birth, your baby will be issued with a short birth certificate. You can buy further copies, as well as full versions, at any time.
For further details on registering your baby's birth, visit the Directgov website, or contact the main General Register Office on 0151 471 4805.
What if I live in Scotland or Northern Ireland?
Visit the websites of either the General Register Office (GRO) in Scotland or the GRO in Northern Ireland for further information.
It is also possible to register British subjects abroad in certain countries. This is done by the British Embassy or High Commission. For details contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Consular Division, on 020 7008 0186.