A campaign to improve miscarriage care
In April 2021, leading experts from our National Centre for Miscarriage Research and the University of Birmingham published a series of 3 articles in The Lancet. These laid bare the devastating impact of miscarriage and set out recommendations to improve treatment and care.
A number of key findings emerged from the Miscarriage Matters series. For example:
- Black women were found to be at 40% increased risk of miscarriage compared to White women
- Female age is one of the most prominent risk factors for miscarriage, with the rate increasing significantly among women aged 40 and over
- Miscarriage was seen to double the risk of depression and quadruple the risk of suicide
- Recurrent miscarriage can be linked to future pregnancy complications, such as premature birth
This breaking research in The Lancet journal thoroughly debunks the long-held myth that miscarriage is ‘just one of those things’ and an unavoidable part of a pregnancy journey.
On the back of the research findings and recommendations, we’ve been calling on the UK government to improve miscarriage care. We think it's unacceptable that parents have to go through 3 miscarriages before getting support and want personalised care for women at higher risk, including Black women and those over 40.
On the back of these findings, we launched a petition calling for much-needed changes to miscarriage care in the UK – and over 254,000 people have now signed to say they agree.
In our petition, we're demanding:
1. Support should be available after every miscarriage, not just after 3.
2. Mental health support should be available after each loss.
3. An end to the postcode lottery: tests and treatments must be standardised across the UK.
4. Higher risk women must get better care from the start.
5. All miscarriages must be recorded, so we understand the scale of the problem.
A debate on our petition in Parliament
When we reached 175,000 signatures, Olivia Blake MP raised our petition and the findings of our research in an Adjournment Debate in June 2021. In response to Olivia's speech, the health minister at the time, Nadine Dorries MP, announced she would put forward several recommendations in the Women's Health Strategy – an initiative which will aim to improve the health and wellbeing of women across the country.
We've been working hard to make sure this happens
The commitments made by the Government were encouraging, but we need to make sure miscarriage isn't forgotten. This is why, in another push in our #ChangeTheMiscarriageStory campaign, we called on our supporters to email their local government representative, to keep miscarriage on the agenda of decision-makers across the UK.
We were blown away by the response, with over 6,700 of you sending an email encouraging your MP or MSP to make miscarriage a priority for the government.
On the back of this, we hosted a discussion at Westminster with Olivia Blake and Myleene Klass. Dr Pedro Melo from our National Centre for Miscarriage Research shared the findings and recommendations from the Lancet research series, and we were joined by 2 of our wonderful supporters, Yuen and Bindhu, who bravely shared their own experiences of miscarriage to highlight the importance of better care.
Where are we now?
The Women's Health Strategy has now been published. Despite what was promised, the strategy does not commit to providing a formal record of miscarriage. Instead, the Government have included a plan to provide an optional pregnancy loss certificate to families who lose a baby before 24 weeks. Whilst this is an important step in recognition of a parent's loss, they are in no way a substitute for official recording of miscarriage data by health services – a change which will be crucial in transforming care and support.
It also doesn’t address the current system which means families must experience 3 miscarriages before they are any offered support or testing. Instead of including specific commitments on miscarriage in the Women’s Health Strategy, they have committed to give further consideration to the findings of the Lancet review and to explore further measures through the ongoing Pregnancy Loss Review.
In October 2021, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) updated their guidelines on recurrent miscarriage. These take our research on board and encourage the NHS to adopt our graded model of care, so that parents can get support after every loss and earlier access to specialist tests and treatments. With this endorsement from RCOG and the Women's Health Strategy committing to consider our Lancet research series further, we now need to continue pushing with our campaign to get these changes put in place.
Find out from our supporters why this policy needs to change
Miscarriage, mental health and breaking cultural taboos
Why the policy of losing 3 babies before testing needs to change
Missed miscarriage and loss within Jamaican culture
Recurrent miscarriage and being childless not by choice
Recurrent miscarriage and having no answers
Solo IVF, recurrent miscarriage and being over 40
Missed miscarriage as a partner during the pandemic
Missed miscarriage and breaking the silence in the Asian community
Insufficient care after losing 3 babies
Miscarriage stigma as a British Indian family
Recurrent miscarriage and autoimmune disorders
Find out more about our campaign
Devastating impact of miscarriage laid bare in new research
Your questions about The Lancet miscarriage research series answered
Lancet miscarriage research: our recommendations to the government
Lancet miscarriage research: next steps