The chapters in this book appeared originally as articles in the British Medical Journal and were welcomed by practitioners. The articles were retuned for publication as a book, the first edition appearing in 1992.
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Demand asked for more and so the book was updated for a second, a third and now a fourth edition in 2002. Antenatal care has evolved from a philanthropic service for mothers and their unborn babies to a multiphasic screening programme. Much has been added in the past few years but a lack of scientific scrutiny has meant that little has been taken away. Healthy mothers and fetuses need little high technological care but some screening is desirable to allocate them with confidence to the healthy group of pregnant women. Women and fetuses at high risk need all the scientific help available to ensure the safest environment for delivery and aftercare.The detection and successful management of women and fetuses at high risk is the science of antenatal care; the care of other mothers at lower risk is the art of the subject and probably can proceed without much technology. Midwives are practitioners of normal obstetrics and are taking over much of the care of normal or low-risk pregnancies, backed up by general practitioner obstetricians in the community and by consultant led obstetric teams in hospitals.
This book has evolved from over 40 years of practice, reading, and research. We have tried to unwind the tangled skeins of aetiology and cause and the rational from traditional management, but naturally what remains is an opinion. To broaden this, the authorship has been widened; Dr Margery Morgan, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Singleton Hospital, has joined Professor Chamberlain as a co-author, bringing with her the new skills used in antenatal care. We thank our staff at Singleton Hospital for willingly giving good advice and contributing to this book, especially Howard Whitehead, medical photographer, and Judith Biss, ultrasonographer. Our secretaries Caron McColl and Sally Rowland diligently decoded our writings and made the script legible while the staff of BMJ Books, headed by Christina Karaviotis, turned the whole into a fine book.
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