Healthcare: On the agenda - Call for antenatal classes in schools

In a nutshell

Many young pregnant women have difficulty getting access to antenatal services in Britain, according to new guidelines by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). One proposed solution is that schools could hold antenatal classes.

- Why is the research so important?

Young women are more likely to have complicated pregnancies. The new guidelines say they can feel excluded from existing antenatal services. Currently, British schools do not offer antenatal classes, but in the US it has become a common practice.

- Who else does the survey mention?

Domestic abuse victims, women who do not have English as their first language and women with substance abuse problems all have issues with approaching the NHS, the guidelines said. Although these groups make up just a small proportion of the total number of pregnancies in the UK, the report also found that women in deprived areas of England were five times more likely to die of complications during or after pregnancy and birth than those in affluent areas.

- PR strategy

NICE held a press conference on 20 September and issued a press release, embargoed until 22 September.

- Media coverage

News of NICE's guidelines made the front cover of The Daily Telegraph and was published in the Daily Mail, The Independent and Daily Express. The story was also covered by BBC and ITV news, and BBC Radio 4 and 5.

40k births a year to women under the age of 20

14 women in every 100,000 die during childbirth

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