MPs are calling for the government to have a better understanding of the reality of having a miscarriage during lockdown.
Please be aware that this article discusses miscarriage and might be sensitive for some readers.
When Chrissy Teigen shared the heartbreaking news that she’d lost her unborn son, Jack, in lockdown, people were of course saddened and shocked. But the reality is that miscarriage is a common experience for women: more than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, which the Miscarriage Association estimates is probably around a quarter of a million in the UK each year.
This might come as a surprise figure, however, because thanks to a lingering stigma attached to conversations around baby loss, we still are not talking honestly and openly enough about it. And with the largest ever study into the impact of early pregnancy loss recently finding that one third of women will suffer from post-traumatic stress following a miscarriage, it’s about time we really got these discussions going – especially when people are currently going through this with the added worry of a pandemic.
That’s why it’s so important we listen to a debate on baby loss that was held in Parliament this week.
Sarah Owen and Olivia Blake shared their experiences of miscarriage alongside fellow MPs Cherilyn Mackrory and Patricia Gibson in the debate on 6 November.
Explaining why baby loss is something that no one should have to go through alone, they are calling for women to be allowed to have someone with them during scans in lockdown (current NHS guidelines state you need to ask your midwife or maternity team about taking a partner). They also want to tackle why the number of stillbirths has rapidly risen during lockdown.
Talking through the devastating reality of her miscarriage in August, Blake said: “Going to A&E, my partner having to wait in the car park, getting confused and muddled about my dates, being unable to have a hug or someone to hold my hand, or support to hear the news that I was having a miscarriage.
“It was a very difficult situation and one that I want no one else to have to go through.”
Owen shared her own story, saying: “If we are to end the stigma, silence and shame [around miscarriage], we have to be open and honest. The first time I miscarried, I was at work and I knew something wasn’t right, so I put myself in for a scan on my lunch break. I was by myself then and they told me there was no heartbeat. And to be honest, what happened next was a bit of a blur, but I still remember the emotional and physical pain as if it was yesterday.”
She then talked about her second miscarriage, and the difference that having someone with her to hold her hand made, adding: “My fear is for those women who no longer have that support and it’s exactly why I urge the government to hold out for as long as they can to ensure that visitors can come to expectant mums’ scans and to tackle the cause of why stillbirths have doubled during this lockdown.”
Image: Parliament Live TV