Quality standard

This quality standard covers the care of women and their babies during labour and immediately after the birth. It covers women who go into labour at term, and includes women at low risk of complications during labour and those who go on to develop complications. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

Intrapartum care for women at high risk of complications is covered by NICE's quality standard on intrapartum care: existing medical conditions and obstetrics complication.

In February 2017, this quality standard was updated and statement 3 on cardiotocography and the initial assessment of a woman in labour was removed. This is because the guidance from NICE on intrapartum care for healthy women and babies has been updated and the advice on using cardiotocography has changed. 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.