About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) reports on a range of information about women booking for antenatal care in Scotland, such as total numbers, smoking status, and how early or late in their pregnancy they access this care. It is important to note that some women may experience more than one pregnancy in a 12-month period. The data presented in this report therefore relates to the number of pregnancies booked for maternity care rather than the number of women attending booking appointments. This is a new publication, and this is the first release.

Main points

In 2021:

  • There were 52,584 pregnancies booked for maternity care, 873 fewer than in 2020. The rate of pregnancies booked decreased from 51.9 to 51.1 per 1,000 women aged 15-44.
  • There was a clear socioeconomic gradient in self-reported smoking rates. In the most deprived areas women reported being a current smoker in 23% of pregnancies where smoking status was known, compared to 2.5% of pregnancies in the least deprived. 
Image caption Percentage of current smokers at booking, by deprivation area
  • In 12.1% of all pregnancies with known smoking status, women reported being a current smoker. This was a slight decrease from 12.6% in 2020.
  • A greater proportion of pregnancies booked were in women aged 30 and older (56.6%) compared to 2020 (54.9%). This continues the trend of increasing maternal age over time.
  • 94% of pregnancies were booked by 12 weeks gestation with two-thirds booked before 10 weeks. Pregnancies in women aged under 20 years were less likely to be booked by 12 weeks than in older women.
  • More pregnancies occurred in the most deprived areas (23.5% were from the most and 17% from the least deprived). Pregnant women from more deprived areas were (on average) younger when they booked than women from less deprived areas.


The data presented are obtained from the Antenatal Booking Collection (ABC) dataset. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, PHS worked with NHS Boards to set up this national data return providing information on women booking for antenatal care. ABC is based on data recorded by midwives in local clinical information systems when a woman ‘books’ for maternity care. The booking appointment is the first planned and structured contact a midwife has with a pregnant woman, to assess her history and needs so that local maternity services can provide further care such as an early pregnancy scan and antenatal screening tests. The booking appointment can also give women further information about how they can keep themselves and their baby healthy during pregnancy, and to help them plan labour and birth.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be March 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.maternitystats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 07 October 2022
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