Changes in access to antenatal services
All pregnant women should be encouraged to access maternity services for a full assessment of their health and social care needs, risks and choices within the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. This is to give them the full benefit of personalised maternity care and improve outcomes and experience for mother and baby.
Since April 2013, data has been provided by NHS England in their 'Maternity and Breastfeeding' dataset. The number of pregnant women having an antenatal assessment is taken from provider data and the number of maternities comes from Office for National Statistics data on live births.
The indicator compares bookings for mothers having antenatal assessments with the number of maternities at the point of delivery two quarters later. If a woman is assessed in Quarter 1, she is recorded as giving birth in Quarter 3, so the number of antenatal assessments in 2010/11 Quarter 1 would relate to the number of maternities in 2010/11 Quarter 3. Results correspond to the quarter the antenatal appointment occurred in, not when the maternity was recorded.
Note that percentages can be greater than 100% if women who are assessed suffer a miscarriage or undergo a termination, causing them to be captured in the numerator but not the denominator. Another reason is that some women undergo antenatal assessments at more than one hospital. As a result they may be double counted, leading to a higher ratio of assessments to deliveries.