The new guideline contains updated advice on care throughout a woman’s pregnancy

pregnant woman

NICE has published NICE Guideline (NG) 201, Antenatal care, which replaces recommendations from the 2008 guideline and aims to improve the consistency of care across the country.  

The updated guidance offers practical advice on the routine care of women and their babies during pregnancy, and aims to ensure that women are offered regular check ups, information, and support. It includes recommendations on topics including monitoring fetal growth, sleep position, and examinations and investigations. 

The guideline also contains advice on interventions and management for common problems during pregnancy, such as nausea and vomiting, heartburn, and pelvic pain.

NG201 includes recommendations on:

  • organisation and delivery of antenatal care
  • routine antenatal care
  • information and support for pregnant women and their partners
  • interventions for common problems during pregnancy.

Shared decision making and partner support

The importance of shared decision making is highlighted throughout the guideline, which states that pregnant women should be listened to, and healthcare professionals should be responsive to their needs and preferences. The risks, benefits, and implications of any assessment, intervention, or procedure should be discussed with the woman when offered, and her decisions on her care respected.

For the first time, the guideline also discusses the role that partners play in supporting women through their pregnancy. It includes recommendations about how to involve them in antenatal appointments, according to the woman’s preferences, and what information to provide them.

Commenting on the new guidance, Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of NICE’s Centre for Guidelines, said: ‘Around 660,000 women give birth in England and Wales each year, and concerns and complications can arise in many pregnancies. Good quality antenatal care, as set out in this guideline, is crucial to identify and deal with potential problems and reduce the chance of poor outcomes for pregnant women and their babies.

‘This guideline not only puts pregnant women at the heart of their care, but also recognises the vital role played by partners throughout her pregnancy. We’re pleased that recommendations aimed at promoting partner involvement during antenatal care are included in this guideline.’