New NICE guideline rightly focused on women centred care says RCM

on 19 August 2021 Midwives NHS Covid-19 MSWs - Maternity Support Workers NHS Staff Maternity Services Maternity Safety Mary Ross Davie NICE - The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Evidence-based guidelines Pregnancy Antenatal / Prenatal RCM RCM Member Evidence-Based Practice

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed an updated guideline published by NICE which focuses on women-centred care, more engagement with maternity services earlier in pregnancy and informed decision making.

For the first time this guideline for midwives and maternity staff also focuses on the role that partners play in supporting women throughout their pregnancy.

Commenting, RCM’s Director for Professional Midwifery, Dr Mary Ross-Davie said;

“As midwives we really welcome this updated antenatal care guideline because it recommends what the RCM has long said, that placing women at the centre of their own care is crucial to improving pregnancy outcomes for both mother and baby. It’s so important for midwives to promote informed choice and during pregnancy midwives will share all available evidence-based information to enable the women to make decisions about their care that’s right for them.

“We also support women receiving their first midwife visit and engaging with maternity services as early as possible in their pregnancy. This is particularly important for more vulnerable women and will enable midwives to identify complexities earlier on during pregnancy Having this early contact means midwives can provide advice and instigate the right care pathways to maximise the potential for a positive pregnancy and outcome. It also recommends that midwifery managers responsible for planning and delivering antenatal services should aim to provide continuity of carer. In order to provide this continuity, where a woman is able to get to know her midwife during her pregnancy, we must ensure we have enough midwives.”

Information and guidance for midwives on how to involve partners in antenatal appointments has been include in the guideline and is a great addition. The pandemic and the restrictions that placed on maternity services with regard to visiting and partners really highlighted how women value support from their partner during all stages of their pregnancy. Services have traditionally focussed solely on the needs of the woman and baby, but increasingly taking this family focussed approach, that involves and supports partners, will be of benefit.

The guideline also includes evidence-based recommendations around the management of common conditions that occur in pregnancy, including heartburn, nausea and vomiting, pelvic pain and gestational diabetes.

Mary added:

“Crucially, the new guideline has highlighted the 2020 MBRRACE-UK report that shows women from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds are at greater risk of adverse outcomes and may need additional support throughout pregnancy. Sadly COVID-19 has sharpened this inequality further. The RCM is encouraging all its members to read this guideline and is urging maternity services to implement any new recommendations as quickly as possible.”




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Notes to Editors:


 The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website.