"Women should not have to endure three miscarriages before receiving support": Sheffield MP to debate support for women in parliament

A Sheffield MP will hold a debate in parliament focusing on the lack of support available to women who suffer miscarriages.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:05 pm

Hallamshire MP Olivia Blake will this Thursday (June 17) hold the adjournment debate to open discussion on the topic and campaign for better services for women.

Currently women are only entitled to support or care after their third miscarriage and campaginers are concerned that even then the availability of support varies, with large numbers of women left without any mental or physical support at all.

The topic is personal to the MP, who last summer had to tell her partner the news that she had miscarried in a hospital car park, and the debate follows her previous action on the issue.

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Olivia Blake
Olivia Blake

After speaking out about her experience Blake was contacted by constituents who were having to receive difficult news alone due to Covid-19 rules in hospitals early in the pandemic.

She launched a successful campaign calling for a rule change, so that partners could attend maternity appointments during the pandemic.

Ahead of the debate, Olivia Blake said: “It is unacceptable that women are having to endure three miscarriages before receiving any support.

"This complete lack of care is a huge problem - the scale of which is only just being uncovered. I’ve spoken to so many people over the past six months - who reached out to me after I shared my own experience - and heard so many appalling stories of women at their wits end being turned away, told they hadn’t had ‘enough’ miscarriages to receive support, or in some parts of the country, unable to receive support at all.”

Lauren, a constituent of Olivia’s who got in touch about her own experience said: "Across two doctors surgeries, it was clear that my three losses were not going to be recorded, even though I requested that they were.

"During my first loss, not only was I not invited in for support, the information I was given could be likened to 'words of encouragement'. Over the phone I was told, ‘You'll need plenty of rest, it's more common than you think’. I was not suffering from a hangover!"

The Debate will be on the topic of the Findings of The Lancet's 2021 series on miscarriage - which calls for a “complete rethink of the narrative around miscarriage and a comprehensive overhaul of medical care and advice offered to women who have miscarriages”.

The report concludes that help should be offered after every miscarriage, increasing each time if it happens again - calls which will be echoed by MPs during the debate.

Olivia Blake added: "It isn’t easy speaking about miscarriage - which is in part why we haven't seen enough change. But with the recent Lancet report shining a much needed light on the scale of the crisis - the Government now has no excuse not to act."

Dr Phoebe Pallotti RM, Director of Sheffield Maternity Cooperative, who has been working with Olivia said: "As a senior academic in maternity, I know that the care for women and people experiencing miscarriage is often patchy and inconsistent, with little regard for psychological wellbeing.

"As a midwife, I have seen the devastating effects that pregnancy loss can have on families and how these experiences can negatively impact future pregnancies.”