This summer our Chief Executive Kath Abrahams welcomed ITV producer Nicola Hendy to Tommy’s to discuss our recommendations for improving treatment and care for those who experience miscarriage in Wales and across the UK.
You can catch Kath’s interview as part of Miscarriage: The Hidden Loss which broadcast on ITV Cymru Wales on Thursday 6 October and is available across the UK via the ITV website.
The documentary is hosted by ITV Wales at Six and Wales This Week presenter Andrea Byrne, with Andrea discussing her own experience of chemical pregnancies and miscarriages, while meeting other Welsh families to talk about their pregnancy journeys.
Andrea also travelled to Coventry to meet Tommy’s researcher Professor Jan Brosens, one of our National Centre for Miscarriage Research leads, with Jan discussing his work on the connection between miscarriage and the womb lining and how conditions in the lining can be improved to support pregnancy.
“Of all the things I have personal experience of in terms of fertility, miscarriage is possibly the greatest taboo of them all. It’s a topic that rarely gets spoken about because it entangles all sorts of emotions that many of us find difficult to confront,” says Andrea.
“Grief is not something as a society we find it easy to address, and when the grieving is for a new life and the loss of the future you'd both envisaged, it becomes even more awkward.”
The programme highlights the urgent need for major changes in the support available to women and pregnant people who are experiencing or have experienced miscarriage.
“I really think it’s terrible that we don’t have better miscarriage care in the UK as standard. [Miscarriage] isn’t just ‘one of those things’. It’s incredibly common and it can have a really challenging impact on people.
“Rather than the situation we have now, which is that you have to have three miscarriages in a row before you can get help and investigations into what’s happened and why, we recommend a graded model of miscarriage care, which means some people get some support and treatment after one miscarriage and then tests and treatment after two and three.”
Last year our Miscarriage Matters Lancet Series, published by the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, laid bare the need for urgent reform of care and treatment across the UK and set out our key recommendations on miscarriage.
The Scottish Government published its Women’s Health Plan in August 2021 and in August 2022 the UK Government released its Women’s Health Strategy for England. Sadly, the Strategy did not take on board our miscarriage recommendations, although it did commit to exploring further measures through the Government’s forthcoming Pregnancy Loss Review.
The Welsh Government has committed to drawing up a plan this year and has said it will consider research and recommendations made by Women’s Health Wales, a coalition of 60 charities, Royal Colleges, and other organisations (including Tommy’s) campaigning for better physical and mental healthcare to meet women’s needs.
As Kath explains in Miscarriage: The Hidden Loss, through Women’s Health Wales we’re urging the adoption of our Lancet recommendations in Wales, and continuing to campaign for them to be included in the Government’s Pregnancy Loss Review so everyone in the UK has equal access to the best possible care:
- Miscarriages must be officially recorded so the rate of miscarriage can be measured nationally
- Access to miscarriage must be available with a clear pathway for follow-up mental health support
- Tests and treatments must be standardised across the UK through a ‘graded approach’ to recurrent miscarriage
- Specific, personalised care pathways should be established for high-risk women
- A clear pathway for preconception support and guidance must be put in place