NCT wants all women and their partners to feel supported during pregnancy and prepared for parenthood.

Maternity matters, the previous government’s maternity care strategy for England, states that women should have a choice of type of antenatal care.

NCT supports the NICE Guidelines on antenatal care (applicable to England and Wales) that were published in 2008.  The guideline highlights the importance of women being provided with high quality, unbiased information, the opportunity to discuss and ask questions and sufficient time so that they are able to make fully informed-decisions.

A new quality standard for antenatal care (QS22) was published by NICE in 2012 and describes markers of high-quality, cost-effective care that, when delivered collectively, should contribute to improving the effectiveness, safety and experience of care for pregnant women.

Enhanced antenatal services for women within NHS Scotland encourages women in Scotland to book an appointment with a midwife as soon as they know they are pregnant. In 2011, the Scottish Government published Reducing antenatal health inequalities which details the specific actions needed to strengthen antenatal healthcare at NHS Board and national level.

The English and the Welsh National Service Frameworks recommend that all women should have at least two antenatal checkups in early pregnancy.

The Kings Fund [England] published The role of GPs in maternity care -what does the future hold? in 2010 which comments on the changing role of GPs in maternity care and provides recommendations on how it might be improved. NCT's document summary of this publication can be found below in the Related documents section.

There is no UK national screening programme to find out whether pregnant women carry Group B Streptococcus. Currently, the evidence suggests that screening all women for GBS during pregnancy would not be beneficial overall. An Evidence Made Easy article summarises recent guidance and evidence on testing for Group B streptococcus. 

Information on pregnancy and newborn screening was published by NHS Scotland in 2010: Information on routine screening tests offered during pregnancy and for newborn babies and Your guide to screening tests during pregnancy.

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (now replaced by Healthcare Improvement Scotland) launched advice on scanning before 24 weeks of pregnancy in 2004, which recommended all pregnant women in Scotland should be routinely offered two ultrasound scans. The Scottish Woman-Held Maternity Record (SWHMR) is a single national unified handheld record for women during their maternity care, covering the antenatal period. An evaluation of the SWHMR in NHSScotland was published in 2010. Its aim was to evaluate the implementation of the SWHMR throughout Scotland and its impact on practice and professionals.