The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended in a guidance that neonatal transfer services are available to provide babies with safe and efficient transfers to and from specialist neonatal care services.

The organisation says that regularly monitoring women who are pregnant with twins or triplets, to spot any possible complications, can lead to better outcomes for mothers and their babies, as highlighted in its impact report.

The report focuses on how NICE’s evidence-based guidance contributes to improvements in maternity and neonatal care, which refers to the care a baby born premature or sick receives in a neonatal unit.

From 2016 to 2019, the Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) ran a project to increase the use of NICE guidance on twin and triplet pregnancies in maternity units across England, and saw a 65% reduction in neonatal admissions and a 60% reduction in emergency caesarean section rate.

NICE has suggested that if all maternity units applied the recommendations on twin and triplet pregnancies, such as labelling the foetuses during scans so they can be told apart and monitored closely for complications, it could lead to as many as 634 fewer emergency caesarean sections and 1,308 fewer neonatal admissions in England, per year.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE said that it’s “extremely encouraging to see the improvements maternity units have made by following NICE guidance”, but suggested that there is still more work to be done in areas such as “helping women who are pregnant to stop smoking.”

She continued, “These improvements will have multiple benefits for mothers and babies and will help meet the NHS Long Term Plan to halve the number of still births and neonatal and maternal deaths by 2025.”

In 2014, NICE recommended that women should be asked about their emotional wellbeing at antenatal appointments. Since then the proportion of midwives asking has steadily increased from 87% in 2015, 90% in 2017, to 92% in 2018.