Last week, a co-founder of Mumsnet Justine Roberts met with representatives from the government the NHS and voluntary organisations to discuss proposals. Many of the points raised are already meant to be implemented by the NHS but are not carried out as they should be.
Many women who miscarry are still being put in antenatal wards, labour wards or wards with women awaiting abortion. If that is not insensitive enough one women told The Guardian that after having an operation known as an Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception she woke up to the sound of wailing babies and felt distressed, the nurse simply said “Stop crying, there’s no need for that”.
Most women miscarry within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and those occurring after 24 weeks are classed as still births. Considering the fact that most miscarriages happen at this early stage, it seems ludicrous that majority of Early Pregnancy Units are closed at weekends, leaving women who are worried their pregnancy has ending with an agonising weekend wait.
With one in four pregnancies resulting in miscarriage, one would think that the NHS would be able to cope with the issue in a seamless, sensitive, clear and calm manner, but this unfortunately is not the case. Many women reported that the staff were cold and dismissive with a very matter of fact attitude towards miscarriage.understandably they see it all the time but the woman who has just lost her baby has not and the level of insensitivity is staggering.
Sarah told The Guardian “The doctor who performed my operation didn’t read my notes properly,” says Sarah. “I was on the operating table and he glanced at my file and said, ‘Oh, your baby’s still alive?’ Well, it had been alive – a week previously.”
Another issue is the lack of a centralised information system, meaning that women recently devastated from losing their baby then continue to receive automated reminders of antenatal appointments and scans. The new code of practice calls for information on pregnancy and miscarriage to be held centrally, so the antenatal appointments are automatically cancelled after miscarriage.
Mumsnet and other campaigners have also called for more training to be given to healthcare workers on the psychological impact of losing a baby.
• The Miscarriage Association: miscarriageassociation.org.uk