Around 660,000 women give birth in England and Wales each year. The antenatal period is an excellent opportunity to not only provide support and information to women (and their families) about pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, but also to assess their risk of complications. Even in fit and healthy women, concerns and complications can still arise, and good quality antenatal care is vital to identify and deal with potential problems and reduce the chance of poor outcomes for both the woman and the baby.
Antenatal service delivery and provision of care have changed over time and this guideline updates and replaces the version of the NICE guideline on antenatal care (first published in 2008).
This guideline covers routine antenatal care for all women. However, it does not cover specialised care for women with underlying medical conditions or obstetric complications (once diagnosed) but refers to other NICE guidelines.
This guideline covers the organisation and delivery of antenatal care, in particular, how to initially access antenatal care and antenatal appointments, and the involvement of partners in antenatal care. Routine care and monitoring during pregnancy is covered and the guideline makes references to other guidance on risk assessment and screening. This guideline also covers providing information and support during antenatal care, and managing some of the common problems during pregnancy.
Throughout the development of this guideline, the committee has considered how antenatal care could be made accessible, fair and high quality for all women, regardless of their background or situation.