Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart will use a speech in Parliament today (Tuesday) to add her support to a campaign to improve miscarriage care.
Ms Wishart will be speaking in a Members’ Debate this afternoon on Changing Miscarriage Care. The campaign launched by Shona Robison MSP and supported by the charity, Tommy’s, aims to breakdown the stigma surrounding miscarriage and make practical improvements to miscarriage services across Scotland.
In her speech Ms Wishart will note the importance of raising awareness of the emotional and physical toll miscarriage can have on the lives of women and their partners. Ms Wishart will highlight the need to ensure equity of care, both physical and mental, across Scotland.
Ms Wishart is expected to say:
“I realise that in this speech I may repeat what others have already highlighted but the subject is about the loss of life and the devastating impact on women and their partners, so I do not think it can be repeated too often.
“The online launch of the Changing Miscarriage Care campaign was both inspirational and heart-breaking. Inspirational because of the passion amongst the attendees to change and improve the care and treatment currently offered to couples who experience miscarriage; heart-breaking because of the experiences we heard. And I too want to pay tribute to the women who shared their stories with us.
“Those of us here today will know of friends and family members who have had miscarriages. Or indeed will have experienced it for themselves. It is estimated that about one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage but the reality is that the true scale in Scotland is unknown. The number of people receiving in-patient treatment for a miscarriage has declined, from 7,546 in 1998 to 4,635 twenty years later, but this incomplete picture hides the number of patients who are treated in the community or solely by their GP.
“There are many reasons why a pregnancy ends, and many women miscarry before they even know they are pregnant. But whether it is a one-off experience, or multiple miscarriages, the impact can be devastating and last a lifetime. Some women carry around a guilt that it might have been something they unintentionally did that caused the miscarriage, even though health professionals will have tried to reassure them that that wasn’t the case. The “what-ifs” and guilt don’t always disappear with the passage of time.
“So what and how can we make it better? Speaking about miscarriage and raising awareness is a start. It’s taken a long time for society to be able to speak about how a woman’s body works without any discomfort in doing so. No more embarrassment when periods or sanitary products, or childbirth or menopause are discussed. It’s past time to remove any stigma associated with miscarriage and raise awareness of the emotional and physical toll it can have on the lives of women and their partners.
“At the campaign launch we heard examples of good practice and our aim should be to ensure equity across Scotland of quality treatment and care. And it’s not only physical care. Other members of my party have repeatedly called for better perinatal mental health care. Many women who experience the joy of bringing home a new baby can experience poor mental health during pregnancy and afterwards, and we are now much more aware of the impacts that can have on all the family.
“It beggar’s belief that someone who has just experienced the devastation of the unexpected end of a pregnancy could be sent home with a leaflet and no offer of counselling or even follow-up calls. Colleagues, we should and can do much better than that, and it’s why I support the motion today and the Changing Miscarriage Care campaign.”
Commenting afterwards, Ms Wishart said:
"The campaign aims to raise awareness, break down the stigma surrounding miscarriage, and make practical improvements to miscarriage services across Scotland. Equity across Scotland of quality of treatment and care is needed in supporting those affected by baby loss. The debate heard powerful testimonies from male MSP colleagues, who spoke about their experiences for the first time, highlighting the impact miscarriage has on women and their partners.”