Here are some hilarious and quite worrying statistics taken from a US poll published in the Huffington Post this week.
1 in 5 people believe witches are real
1 in 5 people do not use the internet
1 in 5 people urinate in the pool
1 in 5 people can’t identify the US on a map
Pretty funny really, but what about that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in a miscarriage before 12 weeks? Not really so funny. I have never been so unfortunate to have had a miscarriage. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I spotted from 5 weeks up until 10 weeks. It was really horrible, some days it was just a small amount of brown spotting but some days it was fresh blood. My husband and I had to just carry on, I went to work with the knowledge that I could indeed be miscarrying the pregnancy but there wan’t much I could do. I did have the benefit of being able to pop into the Early Pregnancy Clinic where a Consultant scanned me every week. But even this didn’t put my mind at rest, I saw a tiny flicker of a heart beat and the small baked bean growing but the bleeding continued. Finally by my 12 week scan everything looked normal and I could just about relax (despite throwing up every evening.)
As a case loading midwife, I book all my women at home before they reach their 12th week of pregnancy (ideally by 10) following the NICE guidelines and ensuring they receive the correct information surrounding antenatal screening. I love this first meeting with my women, hopefully meeting their partner and children if this isn’t their first baby, building the relationship that will continue throughout the pregnancy and postnatal period. We have a cup of tea and chat through the necessities whilst also getting to know each other. Their 12 week scan is booked and I leave saying ‘good luck with the scan, let me know if there any problems’, and plan to see them by 18 weeks.
Last week I received a text from one of my women, her scan hadn’t gone well and the sonographer told them the devastating news that she had had a ‘missed miscarriage’.
A missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage is when the embryo stops developing but the pregnancy can still continue. Or it may be that an embryo started to grow, but failed to progress. It’s called a missed miscarriage because you won’t realise that anything has gone wrong. You may not have had any of the usual signs of miscarriage, such as pain or bleeding. Your body may still be giving you signals that you are pregnant, though if your hormone levels are falling, those signs may lessen slightly. Your breasts may feel less tender, or you may find your pregnancy sickness has stopped sooner than expected.
I felt really shocked and saddened for my woman and her partner. Even though I had just met them a few weeks before, I felt like we had been friends for a long time I was really looking forward to being their midwife. I offered my love and support but they felt that they would cope together in their own way and would contact me if they became pregnant again. Before becoming a case loading midwife I underestimated the ‘1 in 5’ statistic. When I worked on labour ward all I would know about their history was a small printed column in their pregnancy notes saying ‘miscarriage’. It was never really appropriate to mention it especially as they would be in labour and I didn’t always think it was relevant to this pregnancy.
A have a few friends who have had miscarriages but gone on to have healthy pregnancies. Who knows if my friends ever think about the tiny little beans that didn’t develop or make it for one reason or another. All I know is I will never take those booking appointments for granted and hope I get to see my women all the way through their pregnancies and meet their perfect baby.
For more information and support on miscarriage please visit The Miscarriage Association’s website