Quality standard

This quality standard covers the routine antenatal care that women and their babies should receive during pregnancy. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

The quality standard uses the term 'woman' or 'mother' and should be taken to include people who do not identify as women but who are pregnant. The term ‘partner’ refers to the pregnant woman’s or pregnant person’s chosen supporter. This could be the baby's father, the pregnant woman’s or pregnant person’s partner, a family member or friend, or anyone who they feel supported by or wish to involve. The term 'parents' refers to those with the main responsibility for the care of a baby. This will often be the mother and the father, but many other family arrangements exist, including single parents.

It does not cover the care and management (beyond identification and referral) of specific physical conditions, mental health conditions and antenatal complications. These are covered by other NICE quality standards on diabetes in pregnancy, intrapartum care: existing medical conditions and obstetric complications, antenatal and postnatal mental health, ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, multiple pregnancy: twin and triplet pregnancies, hypertension in pregnancy, preterm labour and birth and caesarean birth.

In February 2023, this quality standard was updated and replaced the previous version published in September 2012. The topic was identified for update following the annual review of quality standards. The review identified:

For more information, see update information.

How to use NICE quality standards and how we develop them

Quality standards help you improve the quality of care you provide or commission. They apply in England and Wales (see the UK government website and Welsh government website). Decisions on how they apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland are made by ministers in the Scottish government and Northern Ireland Executive.

Find out how to use quality standards and how we develop them. We check our quality standards every August to make sure they are up to date.