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The importance of antenatal

care in early pregnancy


“”

We support the Government priority for all pregnant women to have started their
antenatal care by 12 weeks. Women who start their antenatal care late or regularly
miss appointments are much more likely to be vulnerable or socially excluded.
These women and their babies are also much more likely to experience serious
health problems and higher death rates, including the mothers being at higher risk
of committing suicide. It makes such a difference if vulnerable women can make a
relationship with one or two midwives, and see them throughout their pregnancy,
during birth and afterwards, so that they feel understood, safe and valued as a person.
We back the Royal College of Midwives’ call for an additional 5,000 midwives to be
recruited, since having enough midwives is fundamental to delivering consistently For further press information, please
high quality care from the start of antenatal care through to the end of the postnatal contact NCT Press Office on 020 8752 2404
period. or email: press@nct.org.uk

The NCT (formerly the National Childbirth


Trust) is the UK’s leading charity on pregnancy,
The additional funding for maternity services in England announced in 2007 was birth and early parenthood. Every year the
not ring-fenced and consequently seems to have vanished into a black hole in some charity supports thousands of parents through
an incredible life-changing experience,
PCTs. Additional funding is needed to invest in employing more midwives, funding offering relevant information and mutual
out-reach clinics and providing additional support services. It is important not to move support through our network of over 300 local
resources into improving early pregnant care, at the expense of one-to-one midwifery branches, UK wide helplines, antenatal and
early days courses, breastfeeding counselling
care during labour and postnatal support. and peer support schemes.
________________________________________ Operating for over 50 years, the NCT is
recognised as the voice of pregnant women
and new parents throughout the UK. The
Background information charity works continuously for improvements
to maternity care and better services and
facilities for new parents. We are viewed by
many as independent experts in matters
17% of all maternal deaths in the UK between 2003-05 were of women who booked relating to pregnancy, birth and early
for maternity care after 22 weeks gestation, missed over four routine antenatal parenthood and are an influential and trusted
advisor to UK governments, royal colleges,
appointments, or did not seek care at all (CEMACH Saving Mothers’ Lives 2007). private sector bodies and other charities.
An overview of the evidence on Social Inequality in Maternal and Perinatal Mortality (New For more information visit www.nct.org.uk
Digest 44) found that: or call the NCT Enquiries line at
0300 33 00 770.
• Women with a partner who was unemployed or in an unclassified occupation had
the highest maternal mortality rate and were over seven times more likely to die than NCT
Alexandra House, Oldham Terrace,
women with partners in employment. London W3 6NH
• Women without a partner (irrespective of social class) were three times more likely to
National Childbirth Trust is a registered
die than women with a partner. charity (801395)
• Perinatal mortality was considerably higher for babies with fathers in ‘routine’ © NCT 2008
occupations than for babies with fathers working for ‘large employers and (in) higher
managerial occupations’.
NCT Pregnancy & Birth Line
• Perinatal mortality was highest for solely registered births, followed by births registered
jointly by unmarried parents and lowest for births registered by married parents. For
births registered jointly by unmarried parents perinatal mortality was lower when
0300 33 00 771
parents lived at the same address.
NCT Breastfeeding Line
• Black African women had the highest maternal mortality rate of all ethnic groups. The 0300 33 00 772
high proportion of refugees and asylum seekers in this group contributed to this. Find support near you
www.nct.org.uk
The importance of antenatal
care in early pregnancy
“”

• Women born in the ‘Rest of Africa’ country group (predominantly West African
countries) had the highest perinatal mortality rate; over twice the rate for UK-born
women. The incidence of very preterm birth and very low birthweight is high amongst
babies of African ethnicity.
• Mothers living in the most deprived areas quintile were about five times more likely to die
than those in the least deprived quintile.
• Babies born to mothers living in the most deprived areas quintile were 1.8 times more
likely to die stillborn or in the first week of life than those in the least deprived quintile.
• Perinatal mortality was higher for babies of teenage mothers and for those born to For further press information, please
women aged 40 and over. contact NCT Press Office on 020 8752 2404
or email: press@nct.org.uk
• Women from socially disadvantaged groups were more likely to have complex needs yet
were less likely to access and receive the care they required. The NCT (formerly the National Childbirth
Trust) is the UK’s leading charity on pregnancy,
• Seventeen percent of all direct or indirect deaths were of women who booked late, were birth and early parenthood. Every year the
charity supports thousands of parents through
irregular attenders for care, or did not seek care at all. an incredible life-changing experience,
offering relevant information and mutual
support through our network of over 300 local
Women need to know that they will have one-to-one care in labour, a time when they branches, UK wide helplines, antenatal and
early days courses, breastfeeding counselling
may feel very vulnerable and afraid. This is especially important for women with a history and peer support schemes.
of sexual abuse, and for those experiencing domestic violence or heightened anxiety. The
postnatal period is also a time when parents need plenty of support and practical help, Operating for over 50 years, the NCT is
recognised as the voice of pregnant women
particularly if they are first-time mums or dads, teenage parents, homeless or vulnerable and new parents throughout the UK. The
in other ways. charity works continuously for improvements
to maternity care and better services and
facilities for new parents. We are viewed by
many as independent experts in matters
Caseload midwifery is a system for organising midwives so that they work in pairs or relating to pregnancy, birth and early
small partnerships and each care for around 28 women (if working full-time), or fewer parenthood and are an influential and trusted
advisor to UK governments, royal colleges,
if their families have additional needs (this ratio is supported by the Royal College of private sector bodies and other charities.
Midwives, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College
of Paediatrics and Child Health). They get to know the family, providing care at each For more information visit www.nct.org.uk
or call the NCT Enquiries line at
antenatal appointment. They go to the mother’s home when she is in labour and go 0300 33 00 770.
with her into hospital if she chooses not to stay at home for the birth. Thye also provide
postnatal care once the family come home. The system id highly flexibility and requires NCT
Alexandra House, Oldham Terrace,
midwives to be on-call regularly, though they can provide cover within the partnership. London W3 6NH
The way of working is very rewarding for families and for those midwives who opt to work
that way. National Childbirth Trust is a registered
charity (801395)

© NCT 2008

NCT Pregnancy & Birth Line


0300 33 00 771
NCT Breastfeeding Line
0300 33 00 772
Find support near you
www.nct.org.uk