Monday, October 10, 2011

Miscarriage care: The right way (mostly)

According to a survey over half of women who have suffered a miscarriage are unhappy with the care that they have received from the NHS, with many experiencing insensitive treatment making an already difficult experience even worse.

This survey was carried out by Mumsnet and they have launched a campaign to improve the care and support that women receive when they suffer a miscarriage, something which is all too common but not often talked about.

My first three pregnancies ended in disappointment and grief. As a result I have dealt with lots of different healthcare professionals concerning this difficult topic. When I heard about Mumsnet's campaign, my mind didn't automatically turn to the rude and officious registrar, who saw me after my third miscarriage. He told us that we should just keep trying and if there was something wrong it was a genetic mismatch, for which he could offer no help.

Instead, I was reminded of the many people I encountered who actually made the load a little easier. The porters who wheeled my hospital bed the long way to the operating theatre so that we didn't have to pass through the maternity ward. The nurse who held my hand before the anaesthesiologist came in and said "It's nearly over now, you're being really brave". The community midwife who, when seeing me in my fourth pregnancy, remembered that I'd had a long journey to get to that point and was always mindful and sensitive of it. The sonographer who saw me for an early scan in my last pregnancy who still, even though I now had a child, was reassuring and sensitive and spent loads of time checking the scan pictures to ensure a healthy pregnancy was progressing.

Mumsnet are asking for a five point Miscarriage Code of Care to be implemented and all of the points are excellent and important. For example asking that women suffering miscarriage are not treated in the same area as routine ante and post natal procedures or appointments.

However, there are some things that can and are being done that don't cost a thing or take much more time and yet are so memorable and appreciated to those who are on the receiving end.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and yet it isn't something that is often discussed. I will be supporting Mumsnet's push for better care for women and I urge you to do the same. There are lots of ways to help and you can find out more here.

If you have been unlucky enough to experience pregnancy loss what was the care that you received like? Do you, as I do, have some great stories that shows off the best about our NHS, or were you left feeling unsupported and mistreated?