NICE clinical guidelines
Issued: September 2007

Intrapartum care: Care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth

This is an extract from the guidance. The complete guidance is available at


This guideline is an update of 'Electronic fetal monitoring: the use and interpretation of cardiotocography in intrapartum fetal surveillance' (Guideline C) issued in May 2001 and a partial update of 'Induction of labour' (Guideline D) issued in June 2001.

Birth is a life-changing event and the care given to women during labour has the potential to affect them both physically and emotionally in the short and longer term.

This guideline covers the care of healthy women in labour at term (37–42 weeks). About 600,000 women give birth in England and Wales each year, of whom about 40% are having their first baby. Most of these women are healthy and have a straightforward pregnancy. Almost 90% of women will give birth to a single baby after 37 weeks of pregnancy with the baby presenting head first. Most women (about two thirds) go into labour spontaneously. The majority of women giving birth in the UK therefore fall under the scope of this guideline.

This guideline does not cover the care of women with suspected or confirmed preterm labour; women with an intrauterine death of their baby; women with coexisting severe morbidities such as pre-eclampsia or diabetes; women who have multiple pregnancies; or women with intrauterine growth retardation of the unborn baby.

This guideline provides an update of 'The use of electronic fetal monitoring: The use and interpretation of cardiotocography in intrapartum fetal surveillance' (Inherited clinical guideline C) issued in 2001. Inherited clinical guideline C will be withdrawn upon publication of this new guideline.