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Antenatal clinics plan for schools

Schools could see antenatal clinics being set up to care for pregnant teenagers, the health watchdog has said.

Evidence shows that pregnant under-20s often feel excluded from mainstream antenatal care or judged by their peers, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The body has called for midwives to be able to offer advice to expectant young mothers and carry out health checks in schools.

The move is part of a wider package of care aimed at women from deprived backgrounds, including those suffering social deprivation, domestic abuse, drug or alcohol misuse and women who struggle with written and spoken English.

Experts behind the guidance, which applies to England and Wales, said services should be tailored to the needs of women in each region, such as providing "one-stop shop" antenatal care in areas with high teen pregnancy rates. The guidance said NHS trusts should commission "antenatal care and education in peer groups in a variety of settings, such as GP surgeries, children's centres and schools".

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said implementing the guidelines would require extra resources and staffing "at a level that it is not clearly available in the current context of cutbacks in NHS spending".

She said: "These important recommendations will require significantly more, rather than less, one-to-one care and time from midwives.

"It is also disappointing that most of the evidence in the guideline comes from a setting outside the UK.

"Consequently, this calls into question the applicability of this evidence to UK-wide services.

"There is also very limited evidence of the acceptability of this research to women and midwives.

"Nevertheless, we are pleased to see the recommendations and believe that it is a step in the right direction and that this area needs further research."

Copyright © Press Association 2010


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Do we want children to have children? Lets not lose focus on sex education which is currently under-resourced and vary from area to area, school to school. I visited a church school which does not allow sex education and I noticed how teachers/staff mobbed a young girl who had brought her baby to school while she sat the GCSE exams. I am not for a moment suggesting that staff should have not paid any attention but what I witnessed was an encouragement for young people to have babies. What happened to the govt policy re 'School Nurse per school by 2010?' - Tsitsi Masukume, London

"How about investing in better sex education and contraception education? Seems to be treating the symptoms rather than preventing the issue! Very naive" - Lindsey Paylor, London