Thank you to Tommy's for inviting me to the launch of their Tell Me Why campaign, calling for more research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
A shocking 71% of parents are not told why their baby has died in pregnancy or has been born prematurely - and in many cases, doctors simply don’t know why it’s happening.
WHY we need more #PregnancyResearch
We need more research and investment in reproductive health.
Stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth, in contrast to most other medical conditions, are linked to deep feelings of guilt and failure in women.
The lack of medical explanation for pregnancy complications and loss underpins this self-blame.
Not knowing WHY leaves parents feeling alone, powerless and full of worry for future pregnancies.
Tommy’s research proves that we can find answers and prevent babies from dying before, during and after birth.
But we need to know more and do more.
We need to be able to tell many more parents why it happened to them and how we can prevent it happening again.
Parents deserve to know WHY it happened. Only then can it be prevented in the future.
#TellMeWhy miscarriage happens
As a patient, I was honoured to visit The Miscarriage Clinic at the Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health at University Hospital, Coventry - which is part of the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research -the UK’s first national centre dedicated to miscarriage research). Prof Jan Brosens and Prof Siobhan Quenby specialise in researching the role of the endometrium (womb lining) in implantation and miscarriage - which is the very issue that is the root cause of my infertility.
Sadly the issues with my endometrium were too severe to be overcome: Prof Brosens told me I was ‘the weirdest case’ he’d ever seen, and that there was no point in continuing treatment, as my womb was simply unable to support a pregnancy.
But the samples of my womb lining that were taken during my visits to the Coventry clinic contributed to the body of research to understand the role of the endometrium in infertility and miscarriage.
And it’s this research which has informed the development of three key checkpoints on which a successful pregnancy depend, as outlined in this brilliant animation:
Although I never ended up with my rainbow baby, I’m so proud to have perhaps contributed in some small part to the incredibly important research that Tommy’s are doing.
Prof Quenby gave the most incredible talk at the event, highlighting some of the key developments and innovations being developed out of her clinic, which are already saving babies lives.
Pregnancy loss isn’t ‘just one of those things’.
1 in 4 people will lose a baby during pregnancy or have a premature birth.
It’s not OK that so many parents cannot be told why their baby died. It’s simply not good enough to say ‘It wasn’t meant to be’.
Please, please check out Tommy’s #TellMeWhy campaign hub, watch the films, share the message, and talk, talk, talk about miscarriage, so we can challenge these misconceptions and fight for more research.