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Open letter calls for urgent overhaul of 'unacceptable' miscarriage services

First published onTuesday 27 April 2021

UK charity, Tommy's, has written to the government to ask for an urgent review of miscarriage services, to make them fair for all.

Coping with miscarriage

A leading children's charity has written an urgent open letter to the government, calling for an 'overhaul' of what they describe as 'shocking' miscarriage services – to make them 'fair for all.'

The hard-hitting letter from the Tommy's charity comes in response to research from medical journal The Lancet, which details just how 'poor' medical care is for women who have suffered a miscarriage, despite it being common – recent statistics reveal one in four women have had one.

The authors of the worldwide research, called Miscarriage Matters, Siobhan Quenby, Arri Coomarasamy, and colleagues, call for a 'complete rethink' of the narrative around miscarriage and a comprehensive overhaul of medical care and advice offered to women who have miscarriages.

In response to the research, Tommy's – which exists to improve care and support during a woman's pregnancy journey – is calling for the UK government to urgently implement three key 'necessary' changes.

One of the most crucial is for women to receive support after EVERY miscarriage – because currently women only qualify for support after they've had three losses in a row.

'Miscarriage is common, affecting one in ten women in their lifetime, with an estimated 23 million miscarriages globally.'
Micarriage Matters, The Lancet Journal

New evidence published in the papers found anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and suicide are strongly associated with miscarriage.

In a statement, researchers said:

'A new system is needed to ensure miscarriages are better recognised and women are given the physical and mental health care they need.

Researchers say many women believe miscarriages occur only rarely, or that they can be caused by lifting heavy objects or previous contraceptive use.

Such misconceptions can be 'damaging', leaving women and their partners feeling at fault and discouraging them from seeking treatment and support, the researchers say.

Co-lead author Siobhan Quenby, a professor at the University of Warwick and director of Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research said:

'Silence around miscarriage remains not only for women who experience it, but also among health care providers, policymakers and research funders.'

Researchers also found black women are at a 40% increased relative risk of miscarriage than white women and female age is one of the most prominent risks, with smoking and a woman's BMI also listed as risk factors.

In response to the evidence, Tommy's are calling for specific, personalised care pathways to be established in the UK to those listed as being most at risk.

The charity also wants centres of excellence for those experiencing recurrent miscarriages, to ensure no mother has to travel for more than hour by car to access specialist care.

Addressed to the Health Minister, the open letter from Tommy's Chief Executive Jane Brewin says: 'We are calling for the Government to implement three key changes in response to this new evidence.

'1. Act to ensure that designated miscarriage services are available 24/7 to all, taking into account local conditions and resources.

“2。治疗和护理必须标准化和情商uitable. Appropriate care must be given to everyone after 1, 2 and 3 miscarriages in line with a ‘graded model’ of care.

'3. To acknowledge that miscarriage matters to parents and take steps to record every miscarriage in England. This will allow us to fully understand the scope of the problem.'

The charity has a petition calling for support to be available after every miscarriage, not just after the third one.You can add your name to the petition here.

Do you think the care for women who have suffered a miscarriage should be improved? Share your experiences in our chat thread below.

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