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A national survey of more than 4,500 recent mothers last year in England, conducted by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) at Oxford University, found that women were aware of their pregnancies earlier and sought medical care earlier than in previous years.

Women were also more likely to see a midwife rather than a doctor at the start of their pregnancy care, while postnatal hospital stays were shorter, with fewer midwife visits at home afterwards. 

The survey found that 94% of women realised they were pregnant by six weeks. 96% saw a health care practitioner by 12 weeks, compared to 82% in 1995.

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