New employment rights for partners

From 1 October, an expectant father or the partner (including a same sex partner) of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to two of her ante-natal appointments.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued guidance entitled “Time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments. Employer guide” (September 2014).

From 1 October 2014, an expectant father or the partner (including same sex) of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to two of her ante-natal appointments. This right was introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014.

This guidance looks at

* who is entitled to time off

* how much time off can be taken

* who has the right if the woman’s husband is not the father of the child (the answer is ‘both’)

* what rights a father has if he is expecting a baby with two different women

* evidence the father will need to provide

* what happens if the employer refuses time off

* victimisation for asserting the right to attend appointments

The guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351413/bis-14-1063-time-off-to-accompany-a-pregnant-woman-to-ante-natal-appointments-employer-guide.pdf

Posted in news and events |

Pregnancy loss and compassionate leave

Returning to work after miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy can be a difficult balance, both emotionally and practically.  We address these issues in two of our leaflets: Your feelings after miscarriage and Miscarriage and the Workplace, but ACAS has recently issued new guidance which you might also find helpful.

“Managing bereavement in the workplace. A good practice guide” (September 2014) looks at

* what the law says (time off for dependents under the Employment Rights Act 1996 s.57A; equality aspects)

* good practice when managing bereavement in the workplace (dealing with the immediate aftermath of a bereavement; managing bereavement and returning to work; when a child dies; when a colleague dies)

* avoiding discrimination and addressing bullying (discrimination on the basis of religion or belief; disability discrimination (if grief manifests itself as depression); addressing bullying)

* FAQs deal with

- where a relative has been diagnosed with a life limiting condition;
- paid bereavement leave;
- increased sick leave due to bereavement;
- time off to attend a funeral;
- dealing with the rest of the team;
- training for dealing with bereavement

The guidance is available at http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/0/m/Managing-bereavement-in-the-workplace-a-good-practice-guide.pdf

Posted in news and events |

Siblings

Sisters and brothers, dear my dears,

it was not pleasant for you any time.

You wanted to really live,

but in heaven you have to be stuck.

You look at us from above,

somewhere on top of the clouds.

You transmit to us smiles,

I know that it is for you enjoyment.

You keep your fingers crossed

and wait for my grandchildren.

I got one life,

So thanks to the monks live

Anne

Posted in Personal Reflections (poems) |

New quality standard on miscarriage care

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today launched a new quality standard on the diagnosis and management of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  Its key message: that appropriate referrals, timely investigations and early diagnosis will help to improve care and could potentially save lives.

We warmly welcome this quality standard, highlighting as it does the importance of prompt high quality care for women experiencing pain and bleeding in early pregnancy.

While there are many units which offer swift access to assessment and diagnosis, there are also real gaps, especially in hospitals with limited specialist resources.  Unfortunately this means there are still cases every year of women dying due to an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy and we hope that the new standard will minimise this risk.

Equally important is the drive for compassionate care and clear information as part of good clinical practice.  That can make all the difference to women and their partners at a very distressing and vulnerable time.

NICE issued the following press release on 10 September 2014:

PRESS RELEASE

 Prompt diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage vital to good care, says NICE

Women who are referred to early pregnancy assessment services with a suspected ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage should be seen by that service within at least 24 hours, healthcare professionals are being advised.

However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is also reminding the NHS that some women may need to be referred directly to their local A&E department as an emergency depending on their symptoms.

Its new quality standard says that appropriate referrals, timely investigations and early diagnosis will help to improve care and could potentially save lives.

Hundreds of thousands of babies are born in England and Wales every year – nearly three-quarters of a million were delivered in 2012. Most pregnancies progress successfully, but as many as 1 in 5 will end in miscarriage during the first trimester. This equates to about 143,000 in England each year.

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside the womb, often in the fallopian tube. It is relatively uncommon – figures suggest it happens in roughly 11 per 1,000 pregnancies. Symptoms include pain and/or bleeding, or are non-specific and therefore difficult to spot. These pregnancies are never viable.

If ectopic pregnancies go undiagnosed, the fallopian tube can burst causing serious complications. If untreated, ectopic pregnancies can be fatal. Between 2006 and 2008, more than 35,000 women were diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy – 6 of them died. Four of these deaths may have been associated with inadequate care.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “To think that you might be losing your baby, either through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, is terrifying. It can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the woman and her family.

“It’s important that these women are seen as soon as possible – a long delay could have a potentially devastating effect. It’s something we originally recommended in 2012 and have identified as a key area still in need of improvement.”

The new quality standard also says that women referred to an early pregnancy assessment service with a suspected ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage should be given a transvaginal ultrasound scan to look for any problems. This type of ultrasound scan provides the best quality imaging.

It also advises doctors and nurses that a second assessment should be offered to women with a suspected miscarriage before a diagnosis is confirmed and appropriate treatment is offered.

Belinda Phipps, NCT Chief Executive said:
“We welcome this new standard which stresses the importance of women in this situation being seen as quickly as possible. Signs of ectopic pregnancy, especially, may be hard to spot, but can require emergency attention very rapidly.”

The quality standard comes after NICE published wide-ranging guidance on this issue in 2012. The standard picks out 3 key areas identified as priority areas for improvement. Both documents aim to help the NHS provide consistent and effective care to women with either a suspected or diagnosed ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

Belinda Phipps added: “The enhanced guidance will improve the physical care offered to women who suffer an unwanted loss of a pregnancy. It is also crucial to remember that the woman and her partner will need emotional support – both now and for future pregnancies.”

 

 

Posted in news and events |

Friday thanks

It’s a good day for saying thank you:

  • to all those who have fundraised for us in the last few weeks - running, cycling, getting covered in mud; and to all of those fundraising for us this weekend;
  • to webmaster wizard Nigel Wood for steering us through ‘migrating’ this website to a more secure platform;
  • to IT experts Alan and Doug at www.activ.com for their ongoing support;
  • to the wonderful Nicky Bullard and team at www.lida.com for creative thoughts on Babyloss Awareness Week next month;
  • and last and not least, to the M.A. helpline staff, Ann, Lisa and Liz, who managed to stay calm despite intermittent loss of all things electronic.  Let’s hope next week proves better connected…
Posted in news and events |

The Silent Separation

Like losing an eyelash – A miscarriage that is ‘missed’.

A silent separation from my most important wish.

You floated away and I was completely unaware,

I didn’t think this was it… I thought it was a scare.


Three days later at twenty past five,

That’s the moment I accepted you were no longer alive.

A lump in my throat replaced my small bump of a tummy.

You had gone… I was no longer a Mummy.


You were the bright ray of Sunshine, who for weeks filled my head,

Even on the cloudiest of days, I leapt out of my bed.

Now this cloud of nothing feels so heavy on my shoulders,

And even though it’s August the nights feel colder… and colder.


You were the blip on the screen that we didn’t get to see,

But you were still a part of Daddy and you were still a part of me.

They say the worst is over now, but we still have tears to flow,

Never will we forget you… Our baby who didn’t grow.


 Stacy Jane

Posted in Personal Reflections (poems) |

Video feedback needed

One thing that’s come out of the research we’ve done for Partners Too and our planned youth resources is a call for more video content on our website.

For Partners Too, we worked with University College London, to produce six videos with actors reading personal stories that had been sent to us by partners of women who had experienced miscarriage. You can watch these videos on our YouTube channel or in the playlist below.

We also recently found another video on YouTube where a woman shares her personal experience of a missed miscarriage, in a direct to camera, ‘vlog’ format. You can find this video here.

We would welcome feedback from all our website visitors on whether they find these videos helpful (or if they would have found them helpful at the point when they experienced a loss), as well as any comments about what you like/dislike about the format. Please feel free to leave your comments on the post on our Facebook page or send them via email to info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

Posted in news and events |

Miscarriage affects partners too

“When was somebody going to ask if I was OK?”

Pregnancy loss can be an unhappy and frightening experience for women – and it can be equally distressing for partners, whose needs often go unrecognised.

Today we’re launching an awareness campaign to let the world know that miscarriage affects partners too.  We’re accompanying this with a new set of resources that tell partners’ stories and provide information and support.

We hope you’ll help by telling others about the new resources, by sharing the link to our new web page www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/partners  and by using the hashtag #PartnersToo.

Posted in news and events |

Miscarriage following a healthy pregnancy

Miscarriage is very difficult for men generally, I think. It is hard to accept and actually I found it really hard to show my full emotion.

On the day of our miscarriage in 2011, we experienced polar opposites. Firstly the true high of telling our daughter and the excitement on her face, plus telling all of our families who we met with on Christmas Day. Then possibly the biggest low of our lives, completely deflation and upset when suddenly that same evening, Jen started getting stomach pains.

As we travelled to the hospital to have our worst fears confirmed, the Christmas number 1 was playing – the Military Wives, singing Wherever you are. A very poignant song and a moment which we will never forget.

For me, although this was churning me up inside, I had to simply stay strong for Jen and Millie. Support, an ear and a shoulder were the best things I felt I could offer at this point. We got home around 2 a.m. on Boxing Day, when Jen and I could finally be on our own at home, with Millie tucked up in bed, and simply cuddle and let all of our emotion out. I coped on Boxing Day by playing in a rugby match I play in each year. Jen told me I had to play as she could see I needed a release and it was perfect for me as I could get rid of my emotion on the rugby pitch (in a completely legal way).

I think it was probably the next day when my mother came and took Millie for a sleep-over that Jen and I had our first really good chat and emotional breakdown (Kleenex has great sales figures for the end of December). It was just what we needed – two days on our own, where we would for no reason cry and hug and then work out what we would tell people.

Christmas Day 2011 will never be forgotten in our minds, although Christmas Day 2012 was simply amazing, as we had a one month old baby in our arms. Me and Jen still have a little cuddle and remember each year for the one we lost. This whole experience has brought us much closer and stronger, which is actually fantastic especially as it’s our 10th wedding anniversary this year.

For me – and I’m not sure if this is generally felt by men – there is very limited support, but in all honesty I’m not sure most men are open to discuss things. This entire subject is shied away from as though it is wrong to discuss and this is not the case. With so many families experiencing it, it must not be a subject to brush under the carpet. When I had personally come to terms with things I found the best way was to talk openly and honestly and it was only at that point that I suddenly realised how many people go through it. My male and female friends were so supportive and also it has allowed us all to be open about these things.

Since the miscarriage, I still had something which I needed to do to get complete closure and it was at that point I found out about the Miscarriage Association. I had found a charity which would have been really useful to me at the time, but I was not aware of them and no one at the hospital had told us. Therefore I set myself the challenge for Jen and our loss to raise as much awareness as I could and in April 2013 I ran the Virgin London Marathon in a fraction over 4 hours, raising over £3,000 for the charity.

The money raised is my way of continuing to support people who go through miscarriages. One thing is for sure – I will never forget my first marathon. And one thing I have learned is that so many people go through what Jen and I went through, and through talking to people we have found it much easier to come to terms with and this is something I will take away with me for the rest of my life.

Peter

Posted in Personal Reflections (prose) | Tagged , , |

Fifty pages of thoughts and experiences

We’re delighted to report on our project to develop resources for young people who might need support and information on pregnancy loss.

Clare Foster describes the work done so far, resulting in 50 pages of experiences, thoughts and comments from people aged 16 – 21, many of whom have experienced miscarriage themselves or know someone who has. With Clare’s help, we’ve also found some volunteers who want to stay involved, give us feedback on our plans and help us with the new resources.

Watch this space!

 

Posted in news and events |