The guidelines highlight quality standards on the care of pregnant women and their babies during labour.
NICE’s quality standard sets out seven statements relating to intrapartum care including: women with low-risk complications during labour should be given the choice of all four birth settings and information about local birth outcomes, women during labour should have one-to-one care from an assigned midwife and women to have skin-to-skin contact with their baby after birth.
The quality standard guidelines are aimed at the care for women who go into labour at full term (37 week to 41 (+6) weeks).
According to NICE, the quality standard is needed because “It is important that a woman is given information and advice about all available birth settings when she is deciding where to have her baby, so that she can make a fully informed decision. This includes information about outcomes for different settings.” 
Commenting on the recent NICE quality standard guidelines, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton said: “These are very welcome standards and we expect maternity services to take notice of and put them into practice. It is not good having these standards if they are not being implemented.
“The focus on skin-to-skin contact and delayed cord clamping is also very welcome. Both of these are very important for the health and wellbeing of the baby. We also support the push for fewer and unnecessary interventions during labour.”
In England and Wales, around 700,000 women give birth each year, with 40% of that number having their first baby.
Guidelines for women at high-risk complications are under development and expected to be published in 2017.
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