The ethos of this guideline is that pregnancy is a normal physiological process and that, as such, any interventions offered should have known benefits and be acceptable to pregnant women. The guideline has been developed with the following aims: to offer information on best practice for baseline clinical care of all pregnancies and comprehensive information on the antenatal care of the healthy woman with an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy. It provides evidence‑based information for use by clinicians and pregnant women to make decisions about appropriate treatment in specific circumstances.
The guideline will complement the Children's national service framework (England and Wales) (2004), which provides standards for service configuration, with emphasis on how care is delivered and by whom, including issues of ensuring equity of access to care for disadvantaged women and women's views about service provision. The guideline has also drawn on the evidence‑based recommendations of the UK National Screening Committee.
The 'Changing childbirth' report (Department of Health 1993) and 'Maternity matters' (Department of Health 2007) explicitly confirmed that women should be the focus of maternity care, with an emphasis on providing choice, easy access and continuity of care. Care during pregnancy should enable a woman to make informed decisions, based on her needs, having discussed matters fully with the healthcare professionals involved.