Website development – seeking your views

We’re reviewing the design and content of our website to make it as helpful and user-friendly as possible, and we really want YOUR views.

We have put together a short survey and would really appreciate it if you could spare a few minutes to fill it in. There are some multiple choice questions, as well as an opportunity to provide general comments and to be involved in the next stages of the website development.

The survey will close on Monday 16 May.

Your input will feed into our work as we review all aspects of the website and consider developing the design and features over the next few months. We very much look forward to hearing from you.



Posted in news and events |

Thoughts and feelings, words and deeds

Just as the experience of losing a baby in pregnancy is unique, so too are the ways people deal with it.

Some share their thoughts and feelings, whether with a few close family or friends or perhaps more publicly, as Jessica and Laura have done.

Some keep their feelings private, perhaps putting on a brave face or perhaps simply finding it easier to cope this way.

Some people express their thoughts and feelings through music or poetry as Arnold did, or through art, dance or theatre.

Some use ritual or religion, ceremonies or other ways to mark their loss.

Some take action: volunteering to help others, fundraising for charity or perhaps setting up their own; or working to change law and practice or to raise awareness.

Whatever you do, let it be right be for you – the right way, the right time, whatever helps you through or gives meaning to your loss.  And know that you don’t have to do it alone.  There are others who will understand, who can provide support if you need it – whether that’s a listening ear, or sponsoring your half-marathon or re-tweeting your blog.

We send our best wishes to those of you still struggling.  And we send our thanks to those of you who are helping to make a difference to them and to others: our support volunteers, media volunteers and Trustees; our London Marathon team and other fundraisers; our colleagues working in other baby loss charities; and those health professionals working to provide the best research and care in pregnancy loss.



Posted in news and events |

Ectopic pregnancy: information, support and a chance to comment

Ectopic pregnancy can be a very upsetting and frightening experience. Treatment decisions may have to be made very quickly, leaving little time for dealing with the emotional impact of losing a baby or anxiety about the future.

Thankfully, there is information and support available.  What’s more, the organisations offering these resources all want your views on what is important in the care and support of women going through ectopic pregnancy.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecoloists

Right now, the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists is inviting comments on a new Ectopic Pregnancy patient information leaflet that they are publishing.  The closing date for comments is 3 April.

9828 MA preg loss

Our own leaflet on Ectopic Pregnancy will be due for revision in October this year, and we’d certainly appreciate your comments and any thoughts on possible changes.

We’d also like to publish more personal accounts and reflections on ectopic pregnancy.  This can be such a lonely experience, both at the time and when thinking about another pregnancy, and reading others’ stories can really help.  If you’d like to share your story please do send it to us.

You might also like to know that there is an Ectopic Pregnancy board on our online forum   – a safe and secure space to share experiences, thoughts and feelings.  In addition, we have support volunteers who have personal experience of ectopic pregnancy and can offer per support over the phone.

Nobody should have to go through this distressing experience alone.  We hope that some of you will be able to help us ensure that everyone receives the care, information and support that they need.



Posted in news and events |

Miscarriage in the news

Recurrent miscarriage can be devastating.  When pregnancy after pregnancy ends in heartbreak it can be harder and harder to put oneself through it – especially if no obvious cause is ever found, or possible treatment identified.

That’s why news of a possible breakthrough in miscarriage research is so heartening.  Published today*, the research by the team at Warwick University offers a new understanding of how problems in the endometrium (the lining of the womb) may be the cause of recurrent miscarriage in many women with that history.

The more we learn about the possible causes of miscarriage, the higher the chances of intervention to reduce its incidence.  This research, from a highly regarded team, really moves our understanding forward, raising the possibility of screening and possible future treatments before pregnancy for women with a history of miscarriage.

As with all research, this is just the beginning and there is more work to be done.  But it’s a very exciting beginning and we greatly look forward to further developments.


*  Lucas, E. S., Dyer, N. P., Murakami, K., Hou Lee, Y., Chan, Y.-W., Grimaldi, G., Muter, J., Brighton, P. J., Moore, J. D., Patel, G., Chan, J. K.Y., Takeda, S., Lam, E. W.-F., Quenby, S., Ott, S. and Brosens, J. J. (2016), Loss of Endometrial Plasticity in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. STEM CELLS, 34: 346–356. doi: 10.1002/stem.2222



Posted in news and events |

Talking about pregnancy loss

People often reflect on the feeling that miscarriage is a taboo – and that when it comes to ectopic and molar pregnancy, these losses are even more hidden.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though, which is why we highlight here some examples of people talking about their experience of pregnancy loss and its impact on their lives.


After two missed miscarriages, Charlie went on to have her son, now 13 months old.  But, she notes:

Miscarriage is never far from my thoughts.  I think about those lost pregnancies and I think about future pregnancies and whether I’ll suffer the same complications. I am acutely aware that we may have to go through heartache again.

You can read her blog here.


Dan and his wife were delighted to be expecting their second child, but an ultrasound scan changed everything.  He shares his reflections on how he and his wife attempted to make sense of their experience of miscarriage.


And Angela, childless, writes a searingly honest blog about coping (or not) with other people’s babies.






Posted in news and events |

Maternity Review fails to address miscarriage care

Women who experience pregnancy loss before 24 weeks have been ignored by the national Maternity Review published yesterday. This is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to set standards for good, compassionate miscarriage[1] care.


The review sets out a five year forward view for improving outcomes of maternity services in England. While we welcome its call for safer, kinder and more personalised maternity services, it is dismaying to see that women affected by miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy miss out on any detailed recommendations for their care.


Despite the Miscarriage Association being invited to participate, and contributing evidence to the review, experience of ‘maternity services’ appears to have been counted only after the first booking-in visit (usually at around 12 weeks of pregnancy). Even then there is barely any reference to miscarriage – the most common complication of pregnancy – and none at all to ectopic or molar pregnancy.


A small number of key points* within the section “What we heard from women and their families” would clearly be relevant to women who lose a baby at any stage of pregnancy, yet losses before 24 weeks are simply not mentioned. What’s more, many of these points are completely absent from the report’s recommendations; despite the reported concerns of women and their partners, the need for improved communication skills, empathy, support after loss and consideration of the place of care is notably lacking.


It is to be hoped that the Maternity Review does improve care for women and their babies. Without reference to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy, however, it is highly unlikely to lead to improvement, in care for the thousands of women and families affected by pregnancy loss.   It seems that we need to look to other organisations – notably the Association of Early Pregnancy Units and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – as well as to like-minded charities, to create change and improvement for pre-24 week pregnancy care.


* Selected key points from the Review


(3.8) Many women told us about the importance of good quality and consistent communication and emphasised how vital it is for professionals to communicate with each other. There is widespread interest in using electronic records so that women would not have to explain their situation to every new healthcare professional they meet. Women wanted healthcare professionals to have read the notes before meeting with them. This is particularly important if they have had a stillbirth, miscarriage or experienced complications.

(3.11) Women who had experienced stillbirth consistently said that they wished they had been better informed about the risks, especially those symptoms they might have acted upon such as reduced fetal movements. Particularly during their first pregnancy, women found it difficult to know what signs to look out for. Parents said they wanted to be listened to and taken seriously when they expressed concerns about their baby. We heard from parents who had felt something was wrong with their baby, but when they raised their worries they were ignored or patronised, and no action was taken.

Care when a baby dies

(3.12) When a baby dies, nothing can take away the pain for the families, but we heard many accounts of kind, compassionate care that made the experience better and helped parents to create positive memories. On the other hand we heard too from families who said they were treated with a lack of care and kindness. Insensitive language and dismissive remarks lodged in parents’ minds, causing hurt and polluting memories of the often very short time they had with their baby.

When their baby had died, families said the environment where they were looked after made a big difference. Many parents told us they were made to share facilities on labour wards with those who had just given birth and therefore within earshot of crying new-borns, which greatly added to their trauma and distress. In contrast other families greatly appreciated being cared for in the privacy and calm of a bereavement suite.

(3.13) Parents told us that they would have liked more time to come to terms with their loss before having to leave the hospital, leave their baby, or decide what would happen to their baby. Many felt rushed through the process and not treated with the kindness and compassion that they needed.


[1] In this context, the term ‘miscarriage’ is taken to include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and molar pregnancy.


Posted in news and events |

Powerful words

It is just two minutes long, but Richard Littledale’s ‘Prayer for the Day’ on BBC Radio 4 captures so much of what pregnancy loss means, that we don’t need to add our own words here.

Do take two minutes to listen.



Posted in news and events |

Gene editing: a complicated issue

You’ll probably have heard or read that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given the go-ahead for research involving gene editing of embryos. These are ‘spare’ embryos left after IVF, that would normally be destroyed*.

The aim of the research is to understand better what happens in the earliest days of embryo development, especially what makes the difference between embryos developing normally or failing to develop at all or beyond a day or two. That can help scientists understand more about possible causes of miscarriage or, indeed, infertility.

It’s a complicated issue for many people. On the one hand, there is a concern about tampering with human genetics, and some people worry especially about the use of this kind of science to create ‘designer babies’. On the other hand, the possibility of growing our understanding and knowledge of early development might hold out hope for reducing the incidence of miscarriage or some fertility problems. And of course, genetic testing and intervention is also important for the study and potential prevention of diseases like cystic fibrosis.

Our thanks to M.A. media volunteers Michelle, Emma and Julie who have all given their views on television and radio:

• Michelle talked to Sky News a few weeks ago when the HFEA was considering whether to give permission; she was also interviewed by Al Jazeera News and the Sun on Sunday;
• Emma gave her perspective on BBC News (repeated throughout the evening) and on Sky News, as well as providing comment to the Daily Mail;
• Julie spoke on Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight – 32mins 57 seconds into the programme;
• And M.A. director Ruth spoke on BBC News 24 yesterday evening, also repeated on other BBC channels.

* N.B. It is important to know that the embryos to be studied are ‘spare’ embryos left after IVF treatment, which are normally destroyed. They will be used for up to a week in this research before being destroyed as the law requires.

Posted in news and events |

Making a difference

Thanks to M.A. supporter Alison Falcucci, the Miscarriage Association has just received a donation of $9,700 (approximately £7,000) from the Crane Fund for Widows and Children.

Alison, a Crane employee in Ipswich, writes:

“It was lovely for a charity like the Miscarriage Association to have the chance of receiving such a substantial donation, especially when it was my personal nomination – knowing all the hard work you all do and the support you provide during people’s difficult times and times of need is something that cannot be taken for granted.  The information and knowledge you provide is priceless.”

The M.A. was one of five charities nominated by employees of Crane Building Services & Utilities UK.

Pictured below, left to right, are: Alison Falcucci, who nominated the M.A.; Ruth Bender Atik, M.A. Director; and Judy Lumsden, President, Crane Building Services & Utilities UK.


Crane Fund for Widows and Children Jan2016 (2)











Posted in news and events |

Miscarriage research takes centre stage

As the European team at ESHRE* scrutinise existing research on the causes and treatment of recurrent miscarriage, there is renewed hope for future research here in the UK, as Tommy’s charity announces the UK’s first national (and Europe’s largest) clinical research centre dedicated to early miscarriage.

Due to open on 1st April, the National Early Miscarriage Centre will comprise a partnership of three universities: The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, and Imperial College London.

The three sites, led by Professors Arri Coomarasamy, Siobhan Quenby and Lesley Regan respectively, are already well known as centres of excellence for both specialist care and clinical research.  The new centre, funded by Tommy’s, will create a wonderful opportunity for much more research into the causes, management, treatment and, where possible, the prevention of early pregnancy loss.

Our warmest congratulations to all concerned.


*ESHRE, the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, is creating European guidelines on the investigation and treatment of couples with recurrent miscarriage.  The Miscarriage Association is delighted to be representing the patient perspective during this process.

Posted in news and events |