Antenatal Care Guidelines Review

Closed 27 Jun 2017

Opened 26 May 2017


This consultation is seeking feedback as part of a review of selected topics under the Antenatal Care Guidelines.

Antenatal Care Guidelines

In November 2010 all Health Ministers agreed to the National Maternity Services Plan which included the development of national evidence-based antenatal care guidelines.  The development of the Clinical Practice Guidelines – Antenatal Care – Modules 1 and 2 (the Antenatal Care Guidelines) was undertaken in two Modules.  The topics covered in Module 1 are generally specific to the first trimester of pregnancy and Module 2 covers additional aspects of care that are relevant to the first trimester, later stages of pregnancy or throughout pregnancy.

The Antenatal Care Guidelines are designed to support Australian maternity services to provide high-quality, evidence-based antenatal care to healthy pregnant women. They are intended for all health professionals who contribute to antenatal care including midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, practice nurses, maternal and child health nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals. They are implemented at national, state, territory and local levels to provide consistency of antenatal care in Australia and ensure maternity services provide high-quality, evidence-based maternity care.  The Antenatal Care Guidelines cover a wide range of care including routine physical examinations, screening tests and social and lifestyle advice for women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.

Review of the Antenatal Care Guidelines

In 2015–16, an Expert Working Group (EWG) was established to guide a review of the Guidelines.  The EWG was asked to identify priority  topics and research questions for inclusion in the current review.  The EWG identified seven topics from Modules 1 and 2 for review (domestic violence, hepatitis C, vitamin D, fetal growth and wellbeing, risk of pre-eclampsia, risk of preterm birth and thyroid dysfunction) and agreed that evidence on cell-free DNA testing, illicit substance use, monitoring of weight gain and early testing for diabetes should also be examined.   Three key professional colleges (Australian College of Midwives, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) were invited to provide feedback on the selected topics and research questions, which resulted in the addition of one additional review topic (antenatal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women) and some additional research questions.

Whilst the current review does not include all topics contained in the Antenatal Care Guidelines, plans are underway to update other topics. 

As part of the review, Modules 1 and 2 will also be combined to form a single set of consolidated guidelines.

Further information on the Antenatal Care Guidelines, including copies of the Antenatal Care Guidelines – Modules 1 and 2 is available at:

Why We Are Consulting

The evidence on selected topics has been reviewed to ensure the recommendations are consistent with the latest evidence to ensure pregnant women receive high quality, evidence based antenatal care.

This consultation is seeking feedback on the Antenatal Care Guidelines public consultation draft (please see links below, in 'Related Documents') which focuses on the following selected topics:

1. Optimising Antenatal Care
  1.1 Antenatal Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women;

2. Lifestyle Considerations
  2.1 Substance use;

3. Clinical Assessments
  3.1 Weight and body mass index;
  3.2 Family violence;
  3.3 Fetal growth and wellbeing;
  3.4 Risk of pre-eclampsia; and
  3.5 Risk of preterm birth;

4. Maternal Health Screening
  4.1 Hepatitis C;
  4.2 Diabetes;
  4.3 Vitamin D status; and
  4.4 Thyroid Dysfunction;

5. Fetal Chromosomal Anomalies
  5.1 Background;
  5.2 Discussing tests with women;
  5.3 Tests for chromosomal anomalies;
  5.4 Supporting women who receive a high-probability result;
  5.5 Other considerations in testing for fetal chromosomal anomalies; and
  5.6 Practice summary – testing for chromosomal anomalies.

Only recommendations and practice points for which the supporting evidence has been reviewed are under review and consideration in this consultation.  Those that have not been reviewed and are not under consideration in this consultation are shaded in grey in the comments column of the table that appears on pages 4-8 of the consultation draft. 

You can make a submission via email to  Submissions close on 27 June 2017.

What Happens Next

Your response will be considered by the Department of Health and the EWG to inform the finalisation of the revised Antenatal Care Guidelines.

The final revised Antenatal Care Guidelines will be submitted to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for consideration and approval under section 14A of the NHMRC Act.  

The revised Antenatal Care Guidelines are expected to be publicly released early in 2018.


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