Needs of women who miscarry aren’t being met


A survey has found that almost 50% of women who miscarry have a 24-hour waiting period before they can have a scan.

Mumsnet, a parenting website, has published statistics which indicate the support and treatment women receive fail to measure up to the official guidelines and the women’s needs.

The survey involved 1065 women who had suffered a miscarriage. It found that 46% had to wait to have a scan to determine if the baby was still alive, while 18% had to wait more than three days.

It was found that 47% were treated with women who had ongoing pregnancies. Around 58% wanted to go for counselling, but only 12% received it. The site also found that 56% wanted further medical care, but only 26% received it. The survey revealed that 23% spoke to friends about their experience, and only 13% spoke to wider family.

During 2012, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on miscarriage management. It stated that the default clinical response for women experiencing miscarriage prior to their 13th week of pregnancy should be for it to happen at home. Mumsnet stated that the results of their survey indicated that this policy is leaving women without the necessary support.

Only 15% of women who miscarried at home after a scan felt that they had received the right information, pain relief and support to manage. One user stated that she was told telephonically to sit on the toilet and hope that it comes out.

Eleven women were asked to store the foetus at their home before further tests would be done on the embryo.

The users of Mumsnet have determined a five-point miscarriage code of care which demands that improvements are made in the treatment of patients. It asks for access to scans, supportive staff, safe and appropriate treatment venues, effective treatment and good information, and collaborative care.

The Founder of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts, said that the pain of a miscarriage cannot be escaped, but for it to be compounded by a lack of pain relief, good care, treatment or human kindness is not acceptable.

She said that they are calling on the three main parties in governments to include a manifesto pledge which will improve care for miscarriages, based on the principles in the Mumsnet code.

The Chief Executive of The Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, has offered the college’s support of the Mumsnet code of care.

She stated that midwives, along with other health professionals, play a very important role in the support of women and their families during the physical and psychological trauma of miscarriage. She said that compassionate, empathetic and kind communication regarding treatment and care is an essential requirement for the support of families.

Most important is the effective communication between the GP, hospital and midwife to offer women ongoing advice and support.

Image Credit: lunar caustic


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