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Antenatal access performance target 2012/13

Ensuring preconceptual health is fundamental to good outcomes for women and babies. However, the first two trimesters following conception are also vitally important. They are periods of significant fetal development, and are when fetal development is most vulnerable to the impact of adverse maternal biopychosocial circumstances including:

  • maternal stress
  • use of tobacco
  • drugs and alcohol
  • poor nutrition.

Pregnant women are highly motivated to do all they can to ensure the best outcomes for their babies and are therefore more likely to engage with and respond to behavioural change or modification support and information, including intentions in relation to breast feeding when the baby is born.  

There is evidence that those women at highest risk of poor pregnancy outcomes are less likely to access antenatal care early or have a poorer experience of that care.

High quality, relationship based antenatal care with a strong focus on prevention, promotion of health, early intervention and support as early as possible in pregnancy is therefore vitally important. Due to this, the Scottish Government introduced a new antenatal access target in April 2012, as part of NHS Scotland’s performance management system.

The target is:  

'At least 80 per cent of pregnant women in each Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile will have booked for antenatal care by the twelfth week of gestation by March 2015 so as to ensure improvements in breast feeding rates and other important health behaviours.'

For more information, please visit the Scottish Govenment website or email lynne.nicol@scotland.gsi.gov.uk . A briefing note providing further information is also available on the Maternity Services website