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New research calls for comprehensive reform of miscarriage care and treatment

News 27 April 2021

A new three-paper report - The Lancet Series on Miscarriage -  highlights that the current approach to miscarriage care must be improved, by providing more accurate diagnosis and appropriate investigations, improved treatments to prevent miscarriage, effective management methods that suit women’s needs and preferences, and treatment from health-care professionals specifically trained in early pregnancy care. The authors also note that there is an urgent need to offer psychological support for affected women and their partners.

Early miscarriages are very common and they can be a devastating loss for parents and their families. Up to one in five women may experience a miscarriage in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. In many circumstances, the reason for the miscarriage is unknown. Recurrent miscarriage - when a miscarriage happens three or more times in a row - affects around 1% couples trying to have a baby. 

Commenting on the research, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“This important and comprehensive Lancet series will help to improve the diagnosis and treatment of miscarriage both in the UK and globally. For too long, the topic has been under-researched and the care for women and their partners, under-resourced.

“Miscarriage is a distressing, shocking and traumatic experience for many women and their partners. We support the proposals that women must receive appropriate, standardised care during and after their first miscarriage. Investment in early pregnancy care and the provision of pre-conception advice is essential to improving miscarriage care and reducing inequalities.

"We are hopeful that this concerted action to both prevent and better treat miscarriage will mean fewer families experience a miscarriage, at any stage of pregnancy, in the future."

Miscarriage expert and past president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Dame Lesley Regan – who is also a co-author on the three papers, said:

“Miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy can be a devastating loss for parents and their families. Finding out whether there is a cause for recurrent early miscarriages or a single late miscarriage is important as there may be treatments available to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.

“The graded model of care proposed in this series of reports addresses the balance between the need for evidence based management and supportive care, whilst targeting health care resources effectively. Ensuring women have access to appropriate psychological support after a miscarriage is essential for their long term health and wellbeing, as well as to support them through future pregnancies.

“The RCOG’s Greentop Guideline on recurrent miscarriage is currently being updated and the proposals put forward in these papers will be considered as part of this review.” 

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7986 183167 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

The Lancet Series on Miscarriage is a collection of three papers examining global evidence on the epidemiological, physical, psychological, and economic costs of these early pregnancy losses, as well as making recommendations for best practice care and support based on this review. Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research led an international group of authors in the Series, and their findings underpin the calls for UK policy change in Tommy’s new Miscarriage Matters campaign. Embargoed access to the series and the editorial is available from the Lancet press office.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.