HALF of women who miscarry are forced to wait 24 hours or more for a scan and are treated alongside women with healthy pregnancies, according to a report from Mumsnet.
Some are even advised to store the foetus in their fridge at home, it is claimed.
The parenting website said 46 per cent of women had to wait more than 24 hours for a scan to determine whether their baby was still alive, with one in five waiting longer than three days.
Almost half of the women surveyed said they had been made to sit in waiting rooms alongside happy mothers-to-be having scans of their healthy baby’s growth, while others felt they had been abandoned to miscarry at home with no pain relief or emotional support.
One woman said a midwife suggested she “sit on the toilet and hopefully it will all come out”, while others were asked to store their foetuses at home in the fridge for further medical testing. Around a quarter of a million women miscarry in the UK each year – representing about one in five pregnancies.
Mumsnet is calling for a five-point Miscarriage Code of Care, involving access to supportive staff; scanning; safe, appropriate places for treatment; joined-up care between healthcare providers; and effective treatment with good information.
The group called on politicians to take action over the problem. “There’s no escaping the pain of a miscarriage, but for this to be compounded by lack of treatment, pain relief, good care or just plain human kindness is completely unacceptable,” said Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts.
Susan Seenan, chief executive of the charity Infertility Network UK, said: “Miscarriage is an extremely distressing, and often frightening experience and sadly, even health professionals can underestimate the impact which a miscarriage can have.
“Good support and access to counselling from sensitive, trained staff who understand the emotional as well as the physical effect of miscarriage on both women and their partners can make an enormous difference to those dealing with the grief of losing a baby.”
Jane Brewin, chief executive of Tommy’s, the charity funding research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, said: “Losing a baby is a devastating experience and our helpline hears from people every day who are struggling to make sense of what has happened to them and why.
“We want families to know that they are not alone and that Tommy’s helpline is here to support anyone who has been through this heartbreak.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The RCM welcomes the Mumsnet code of care which aims to improve care for women at a very difficult time.”