Review decision: 

We checked this guideline and decided that it should be updated at this time. For details, see the update decision and the process for deciding if an update is needed. Details of the update will be available on the guidelines in development webpage in due course. This guideline will be checked again for update at its scheduled time point according to the methods described here.

Next review date: 2018

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG55 (published September 2007). It offers evidence-based advice on the care of women and their babies during labour and immediately after the birth. It covers healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies entering labour at low risk of developing intrapartum complications.

New recommendations have been added in a number of areas, including choosing place of birth, care during the latent first stage of labour, transfer of care, fetal assessment and monitoring during labour (particularly cardiotocography compared with intermittent auscultation) and management of the third stage of labour.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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