Pregnancy Loss Review – the Review commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care

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A loss of dreams, of hope and a sense of bereavement often follows a miscarriage, but the most common response when a miscarriage happens is, ‘Why?’. ‘Why me?’, Why us?’, ‘What did I do’? and ‘Will this happen again?’.

Whilst a common clinical response post-miscarriage is that ‘They happen’ and that miscarriages are more common than we often appreciate, that rarely stops the inevitable grief that comes when they happen.

Often the answer is that we do not know why they happen, and, whilst that can provide some comfort, it often leaves a gaping space. Parents want to know why this has happened, which is not unreasonable. Until last week, it was perhaps impossible before the third miscarriage.

The Pregnancy Loss Review, a long-awaited independent report commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care, has been published looking at how to care for people who lose a baby before 24 weeks.

Heralded as a step forward for thousands of prospective parents who find themselves at a complete loss following a miscarriage. Including recommendations for education and training, clinical care quality, and service provision, there is also a recommendation for support and investigation following baby loss. Parents may not have to wait to suffer and second and third loss before being able to access help. Potentially following a model pioneered by charity Tommy’s, a new proposal which has a real prospect of implementation means that families could be offered support after a first loss, treatment and testing after a second loss and consultant-led care after a third loss.

Whilst there is a long way to go in research to find out if many miscarriages of the future can be prevented, this is quite the step forward for those who have had to endure many losses before they are able to access support and guidance in a time of deep loss and desperation.

Whilst this report is still a Review with recommendations and must be reviewed by the government, a real surge of support for the recommendations set out is building, which we at Ashtons Legal LLP support. A loss will always raise the question of ‘Why?’ but now there is hope. Hope for answers and hope that families will not have to endure loss after loss simply to meet an arbitrary pre-requisite before they are given the help and support they need. Three losses are significant. It also has a huge toll on the birthing person’s physical and mental well-being which could potentially be avoided by being more proactive and sooner.

This report should herald a new dawn for families and signals a step in the right direction for a new approach to miscarriage and one that may save much heartache that could be avoided.

The charity, Tommy’s, has trialled this approach for some time, named as their ‘Graded Model of Care’. It has provided hope and a sensible and sensitive approach to those who find themselves in an unimaginable position. Miscarriage affects so many, with a statistic of one in four being affected. We may often be that one person in four or know the one in four who sadly suffers multiple miscarriages.

The next step now is for the Government to support this scheme, which has a proven success already.

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