CARRIE JOHNSON’S miscarriage was one of 250,000 every year in the UK – but none of the women victims are entitled to specialist treatment until they have lost three pregnancies in a row.
Today, The Sun on Sunday — in conjunction with charity Tommy’s — is calling for better miscarriage care and asking you, our caring army of readers, to sign a petition calling for the Government to overhaul the system.
We are demanding that:
- BETTER support should be available after every miscarriage — not just after three in a row.
- MENTAL HEALTH support should be provided where necessary.
- THE POSTCODE LOTTERY is ended so tests and treatments are standardised across the country.
- HIGHER-RISK women should get better care from the start.
Last night Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s — the largest charity in the nation carrying out research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth — said: “Many readers will have been affected by miscarriage, so we hope they’ll join us in urging the Government to change the system.
“It’s great to have The Sun on Sunday backing our calls to help families get the care and support they need.”
Research has found that at least 15 per cent of pregnancies end in miscarriage globally, with one in ten women affected.
Miscarriage can have a profound psychological effect on both parents, almost quadrupling the risk of suicide, doubling the chance of depression and raising the risk of anxiety.
It increases the chances of subsequent pregnancy loss by around ten per cent each time and leaves women more vulnerable to heart disease and blood clots, and at increased risk of future pregnancies ending in premature birth or stillbirth.
Black women are more at risk of miscarriage, with 40 per cent higher rates than white mums-to-be.
PM’s wife Carrie spoke about her trauma for the first time last month, when she revealed that she was expecting her second child.
The 33-year-old, who has one-year-old son Wilfred with Boris, wrote about wishing for a “rainbow baby” — a healthy child born after a miscarriage — this Christmas.
Her Instagram post read: “At the beginning of the year, I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken. I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again but I’ve also felt like a bag of nerves.”
‘COUPLES GO THROUGH THIS AWFUL EXPERIENCE’
Emmerdales Gemma Oaten, 37, has also been through the tragedy of miscarriage. The actress, Rachel Breckle in the soap, suffered hers in 2018 and was horrified at the way she was dealt with.
She said: “I went to the GP, who confirmed that I’d had a miscarriage. When I asked what support might be available, I was told there wasn’t any and I’d have to go private in order to access any services. And it was suggested that I google somewhere.
“I left the surgery feeling bewildered. The miscarriage had brought up a lot of emotions. I would have liked advice about what to do next.”
Gemma turned to her parents for support and got on with life but she was terrified that previously having anorexia would affect her fertility.
Gemma, who is now Charity Manager of SEED Eating Disorder Support Services, went to a fertility clinic six weeks ago to discuss her future.
She said: “I discovered that my fertility is compromised. I’ve got a cyst on one of my ovaries and I have endometriosis.
“Trying to conceive now will be very difficult.
“If I’d been given the opportunity to have some investigations three years ago, when I had the miscarriage, I might not be in this position now. This petition is really important.
“At the moment we are asking couples to go through this awful experience three times before any help and support is offered. That can’t be right.
“It feels like we’re reactive, rather than proactive.”
The miscarriage had brought up a lot of emotions. I would have liked advice about what to do next.
Lisa Williams, 35, from Rhyl in North Wales, experienced three heartbreaking miscarriages before she was given any help.
The 35-year-old — who has daughters Alysa, eight, and one-year-old Talia-Beau with her husband Philip, 40, a factory worker — said: “Alysa was born in 2013 and by the time she was three we were ready to add to our family.
“I fell pregnant in July 2016 and expected another easy pregnancy. I couldn’t believe what was happening when I started bleeding at eight weeks.
“I was referred to the early pregnancy unit and was told there was nothing left in my womb and that I had miscarried.
“I wasn’t given any information about what had happened and I didn’t feel as though I was treated particularly compassionately either.
“I put on a brave face but I was utterly devastated.
“However, we did what many couples do and tried again. I fell pregnant in January 2017 and had my second miscarriage four weeks later.
“I went into a very dark place after the second miscarriage and felt as though I had lost my zest for life. I felt worthless as a woman, as I wasn’t able to keep my babies. My relationship with Philip struggled too, as he wasn’t able to talk about what had happened.
“During this time I still had to care for my daughter and I know that I wasn’t the mum I should have been for her. I felt so low.
I went into a very dark place after the second miscarriage and felt as though I had lost my zest for life.
“However, we didn’t want to give up on our dream of having another child.
“In 2018 I fell pregnant again. But sadly I lost that pregnancy as well, in November 2018, when I was six weeks pregnant.
“As it was my third miscarriage, I was referred to a consultant to investigate what was happening. After a lot of tests they discovered that I had a blood-clotting disorder which could be treated with medication.
“I fell pregnant in 2019 and was under consultant care, which was reassuring. But I was still so anxious. Every time I went to the toilet I expected to find blood.
Sign the petition
MORE than 20 organisations involved in maternal health, including the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, have signed a letter from Tommy’s to Health Secretary Sajid Javid calling for changes to miscarriage care in the UK.
“Support should be offered to couples after every miscarriage.
“It can be a devastating loss and it isn’t something many people talk openly about, which is shocking considering one in four pregnancies end with miscarriage.
“If I’d had tests sooner, they would have discovered the blood-clotting issue and the subsequent losses could have been avoided.”
End this bad rule
By Jane Brewin, Tommy’s CEO
MISCARRIAGE is often dismissed as “one of those things”, and this attitude holds back the changes needed to help thousands of struggling families.
Thanks to research, the right care can reduce the risk of miscarriage – and if it does happen, the right support can also help parents cope with the lifelong impact of these losses.
Sadly, this help is not reaching everyone who needs it.
Families currently have to endure three miscarriages in a row before the NHS offers tests and treatments, while many never get mental health support.
The postcode lottery in miscarriage services adds more pain to an already unbearable experience. All this can and must change.
We need a new approach to miscarriage care, not only to prevent it wherever possible but also to better support those who sadly lose their babies.
Everyone should be given support after each miscarriage, as well as specialist care if it happens again.
It shouldn’t matter who you are or where you live – and you shouldn’t have to endure repeated losses before you can get help.
Source: The Sun