Tommy’s charity leads challenge on Government over miscarriage support
UK leading pregnancy charity Tommy’s is calling for sweeping changes to miscarriage care and support nationwide
UK leading pregnancy charity, Tommy’s is calling for sweeping changes to miscarriage care and support nationwide. They are urging the Government to overhaul a system that currently denies so many families the help that they need.
Tommy’s 120,000 strong petition comes in response to the latest research in the Lancet medical journal which highlights that the far-reaching impact of miscarriage (the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks) costs the UK at least £471m a year.
This astronomical amount is on top of the physical and psychological price paid by the 15% of expectant parents estimated to experience miscarriage, where according to studies from Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research published by the world-renowned Lancet medical journal (Tuesday 27 April 2021) this is a minimum figure - covering direct health services and lost productivity; and indeed, scientists expect it surpasses £1bn when looking at longer term physical, reproductive and mental health.
Their research showed:
- Black women found to be at 40% increased risk of miscarriage compared to White women
- Miscarriage was seen to double the risk of depression and quadruple the risk of suicide
- After having 3 miscarriages, women are 6.1 times more likely to suffer from blood clots in later life
Black Mothers at huge increased risk of miscarriage
Researchers are now investigating whether this devastating and unacceptable disparity could be related to other health issues that more commonly affect Black women and can complicate pregnancy, such as fibroid conditions and autoimmune disorders.
Tommy’s say this urgently needs to change NOW and are asking for Black women to be treated as a higher risk group in early pregnancy and should receive personalised care from the start
Effect on mental health much greater than previously considered
Although there is a belief that early pregnancy is too soon to grieve a loss, or that only mothers feel bereft, Tommy’s researcher has discovered profound psychological effects on both parents.
Previous Tommy’s studies also showed that one in five mothers and one in 12 partners had long-term post-traumatic stress symptoms after miscarriage.
Maternal health is damaged further as pregnancies after miscarriage are more likely to result in premature birth or stillbirth, as well as carrying higher risks of complications such as failure of the baby to grow (fetal growth restriction) and life-threatening placenta problems.
Tommy’s are calling for mental health support to be available after every miscarriage for those who need it.
A petition to change current ‘3 miscarriage care rule’ has already gathered more than 120,000 signatures.
Tommy’s CEO Jane Brewin said: “The variation in quality and availability of miscarriage care across the UK can lead to lifelong problems for families already enduring an unbearable experience; it shouldn’t matter who you are or where you live, and you shouldn’t have to endure repeated heart-breaking losses before you get the right help. Everyone should be given care and advice after each miscarriage to reduce the chance of it happening again, with specialist support for those most at risk. Mothers’ care must consider their long-term risks, especially in future pregnancies, and both parents must be offered mental health support. We know what to do and how to do it – now we need a commitment from the NHS to put the knowledge we have into practice everywhere. With national targets to reduce premature birth and stillbirth, it’s time to prioritise miscarriage too.”
To find out more about the research and sign the campaign petition telling the UK Government to improve miscarriage care, go to tommys.org/miscarriagematters