Summary: We report the introduction of a woman‐held record into an antenatal clinic in a NSW teaching hospital using a randomized controlled trial. In 1997, 150 women were randomized to either retaining their entire antenatal record through pregnancy (women‐held group) or to holding a small, abbreviated card, as was standard practice (control group). A questionnaire was distributed to women to measure sense of control, involvement in care and levels of communication. Availability of records at antenatal visits was also measured. Women in both groups were satisfied with their allocated method of record keeping, however, those in the women‐held group were significantly more likely to report feeling in ‘control’ during pregnancy. Women in the control group were more likely to feel anxious and helpless and less likely to have information on their records explained to them by their caregiver. The number of records available at each clinic was similar in both groups.