Our helpline: 01924 200799 Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm

Media queries

The Miscarriage Association is an expert resource for advice, information and comment on the facts and feelings of miscarriage.

We recognise that print, broadcast and online media want to provide sound information, news and features; and that journalists and researchers seek wherever possible to source reliable facts and figures.

We also appreciate your assistance in raising public awareness of miscarriage, in helping to provide important information to your audience and in reducing the taboo associated with miscarriage.

We are always happy to help whenever we can, supporting responsible media coverage of the facts and feelings of miscarriage.

We can:

 

Contact: Ruth Bender Atik – National Director

Tel:        01924 200795  (Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm)
Mob:      07527 070046
e-mail:   ruth@miscarriageassociation.org.uk; or ruth.benderatik@ntlworld.com (out of office hours)

Please note: Out of office hours, our helpline number (01924 200799) provides contact details of support volunteers. Please don’t contact them with media queries.

 

You can read our comments on recent research, news stories and events below.

 

Certificate of pregnancy loss: 26 January 2016

When a baby dies before 24 weeks of pregnancy, there is no legal recognition of his or her brief life, no birth or death certificate.

While some parents may be relieved that they don’t have to face the ordeal of registering their loss at the local Registry office, others find this threshold immensely distressing and hurtful.

He was my baby. I’d seen him on scan, I’d felt him kick.  How can someone say he doesn’t count?

A recent online petition seeks to lower the age of registration to 20 weeks rather than 24.    That would be welcomed by many parents – although it would not help those whose  babies died at, say 18 or 19 weeks.

Other campaigns have argued that that there should be no threshold at all, allowing the registration of the loss of any baby who dies at any stage of pregnancy.

It seems unlikely that the law on the age of viability will be changed in the foreseeable future, but we believe we have an opportunity now to campaign for the wider availability of certificates of loss for those parents who would like them.  These would not be the same as a legal document, it’s true, but they would go some way to marking these tiniest of lives.

The Miscarriage Association – along with other organisations too – has long encouraged hospitals to offer parents some form of certification for babies lost in pregnancy.  We would be delighted if you would share our guidance for hospitals with your local NHS Trust.

We talk about the emotional impact of late loss here.  Our leaflet on late miscarriage provides information about both the facts and the feelings of this deeply distressing experience.

——

No need to wait to conceive after miscarriage: 30 November 2016

Research published today [1] has highlighted that couples wanting to conceive after a miscarriage don’t have to worry about the risks of trying again too soon [2].

The authors conclude that conceiving within the first six months after miscarriage does not increase the risk of miscarriage or of other adverse outcomes [3] in the new pregnancy.

On the contrary, it showed that pregnancies conceived in the first six months after a miscarriage were actually less likely to result in another loss than pregnancies conceived more than six months later.  Conceiving in those first six months was also associated with a lower risk of a pre-term birth.

Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, from the University of Aberdeen, who led the research, acknowledges that it is not clear why conceiving within six months leads to better outcomes.  Nevertheless, this comprehensive review of all the published studies about the effects of timing of conception after miscarriage has confirmed research she first published in 2010.

The new study concludes: “There is now ample evidence to conclude that delaying a pregnancy following a miscarriage is not beneficial and unless there are specific reasons for delay, couples should be advised to try for another pregnancy as soon as they feel ready.”

So what does this mean for you?

There are several key messages here:

Perhaps it will help to remember that this is a statistical analysis and it talks about averages and trends – not necessarily about you and your circumstances.  It tells us that overall, there is no benefit in waiting and that conceiving earlier can reduce the chance of another loss, though we don’t know why.

We do know that miscarriages happen for many reasons that have nothing to do with pregnancy interval and that most of these reasons are beyond your control.  All you can do is the best you can with your own situation [4], and try again when you are ready and able to do so.

Notes:

[1] Kangatharan C, Labram S & Bhattacharya S Interpregnancy interval following miscarriage and adverse pregnancy outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis.  Human Reproduction Update (2016) doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmw043

[2] Press release

[3]  Other adverse outcomes: pre-term birth, pre-eclampsia, low birth weight babies, stillbirth.

[4]  See here.

——

PRESS RELEASE: 25 March 2015

Human Tissue Authority guidance on disposal of pregnancy remains: the Miscarriage Association responds.

Following the publication of new HTA guidance on disposal of pregnancy remains, Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association, said:

“The guidance contains much to be welcomed. However, it fails to fully address the issues raised when hospitals deal with pregnancy remains.

“We’re pleased to see that the guidance emphasises the need for pregnancy remains to be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect, however early in pregnancy that loss occurred.

“There is clear consideration of the varying needs and concerns and sensitivities of women regarding what happens to the remains of their pregnancy.  And there is recognition that staff who provide information on this topic need to be well informed, trained and supported.

“However, if the woman does not express a preference, hospitals are allowed to dispose of the pregnancy remains along with clinical waste. We feel this is wrong. It seems to assume that not making a decision means not caring and doesn’t take account of the distress and difficulty that many women go through in having to make this decision.  Some women come back years after their loss to ask what happened to the remains of their baby.

“Added to that, the guidance refers several times to ‘sensitive incineration’, when current practice means that there is no such thing, as almost all incineration of clinical waste takes place away from the hospital. Unless there is someone who can ensure that these remains are incinerated in a dignified way, completely separate from clinical waste, we believe that this description is simply untrue and shouldn’t be used.

“We hope the government ministers responsible for this area will reconsider, and follow the admirable lead of the Scottish Government, which has created much better guidance. In the meantime, we can only hope that hospital managers will themselves decide to practise the best possible standards in this sensitive area.”

ENDS

—————-

For further information please contact:

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association

Tel: 01924 200795 / 07527 070046 ruth@miscarriageassociation.org.uk

Notes to editors

Background to the Miscarriage Association statement

Most people would rather not think about what happens to the remains of pregnancies following miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy or termination.  For many of those affected by pregnancy loss, however, it matters greatly – even many years later – to know that these remains are disposed of with respect and sensitivity.

Sadly, this is not always the case, as we have noted before.  While previous guidance has recommended that hospitals arrange for pregnancy remains to be cremated or buried, some pregnancy remains are still disposed of along with clinical waste.  This is not illegal but it cannot be described as sensitive or respectful.

We were therefore delighted that the Human Tissue Authority was tasked last year with drawing up new guidance for hospitals and clinics on the disposal of remains of pregnancies ending before 24 weeks’ gestation.  We felt this was an opportunity to clarify the legal position and make recommendations that would drive up the standard of care on this sensitive issue, as has been done recently in Scotland.

Much to be welcomed

There is much to be welcomed in this guidance.  First and foremost it emphasises the need for pregnancy remains to be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect, however early in pregnancy that loss occurred.

There is clear consideration of the varying needs and concerns and sensitivities of women* regarding what happens to the remains of their pregnancy.  And there is recognition that staff who provide information on this topic need to be well informed, trained and supported**.

The recommendations

As before, the guidance recommends that hospitals offer the options of cremation or burial (which may be collective or individual) as well as the option for women to make their own arrangements, including taking the remains home.

In addition, they recommend that hospitals offer women the option of incineration.  This may seem perverse, but it is in recognition of the fact that some women clearly do not wish any special status to be conferred on the remains of their pregnancies.  We accept that some women will choose to have their pregnancy remains incinerated rather than buried or cremated.

Where the guidance disappoints

There are two main areas of serious concern.

A default option

First, the guidance includes incineration as a possible ‘default’ option for hospitals in cases where a woman does not express her wishes within a given time-frame.

The assumption appears to be that if a woman does not state her preference, then the matter is of no importance to her.  It does not take account of the distress that many women experience at having to make this decision, or of any other factors that lead them not to make a decision at all.  It certainly ignores evidence that some women come back even years after their loss to ask what happened to the remains of their baby.

This is truly a missed opportunity to demonstrate high standards of care, particularly in the light of the recent Scottish guidance.

‘Sensitive incineration’

Second, we are very concerned by the description of this option as ‘sensitive incineration’.  This description is completely inappropriate.   Given that almost all incineration of clinical waste takes place off-site, this cannot be guaranteed.  Unless the incineration of pregnancy remains is conducted in a dignified manner, completely separate from clinical waste, and adequately supervised as such, this term is simply untrue and should not be used.

 

* Decisions rest with the woman as pregnancy remains are considered her tissue.

** There is brief guidance for health professionals here .

ENDS

—————-

For further information please contact:

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association

Tel: 01924 200795 / 07527 070046 ruth@miscarriageassociation.org.uk

 


 

Press release 25 Feb 2013

Miscarriage Association Unveils Awareness Campaign Encouraging People to Open Up About Miscarriage

– With one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, LIDA unveils nationwide campaign –

Direct and Digital agency, LIDA, has created a national poster and guerrilla marketing campaign for the Miscarriage Association, aimed at breaking the silence around miscarriage, which ends one in four pregnancies.

The campaign launches on Monday 25 February with posters located at fourteen train stations across the UK. The outdoor advertising campaign, targeted at stations with high footfall, is being supported by intriguing blue envelopes addressed ‘To anyone’, left in random places around the poster activity.

ma-note

The placement of the blue envelopes reflects the randomness of miscarriage, with the message inside centring on the one in four statistic and encouraging people to start talking about miscarriage, or to speak to one of the charity’s helpline staff.

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association, said: “Miscarriage affects many thousands of people throughout the UK every year, and yet it’s rarely spoken about openly. We know that talking about it can make a huge difference to the women, men/partners, families and friends affected by miscarriage, and we hope that this campaign will help to end the silence.”

Nicky Bullard, Executive Creative Director at LIDA, added: “We wanted to highlight the randomness of miscarriage through our powerful little blue envelopes, left anywhere, addressed to anyone.  The high stat means that there is a likelihood you will have been touched by the subject, whether it’s yourself, your partner, your daughter, friend or colleague. We just need to get people talking about it.”

ENDS

—————-

For further information please contact:

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association

Tel: 01924 200795 / 07527 070046 ruth@miscarriageassociation.org.uk

 

 

Credits

Dan Wright                   Copywriter (OOH campaign)

Andrew Pogson             Account Director (OOH campaign)

Jo Legg                            Creative Director (Guerrilla campaign)

Sara Pouri                      Account Director (Guerrilla campaign)

Channel:                         Four Sheet Posters and Guerrilla Marketing

 

About the Miscarriage Association

The Miscarriage Association is a national charity working across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

It was founded in 1982 by a group of people who had experienced miscarriage and we continue to offer support and information to anyone affected by the loss of a baby in pregnancy, to raise awareness and to promote good practice in medical care.

About LIDA

LIDA is digital and direct marketing agency that focuses on creating Better Customer Connections between brands and consumers.

We create measurable value for brands by using customer understanding to develop action-orientated communications that connect better with customers across all channels.

Key clients include: Virgin Holidays, Boots, IKEA and Intercontinental Hotel Group

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