UK

NHS trusts are urged to ditch ‘rule of three’ to prevent patients from losing more babies

Clinical tests for women after a FIRST miscarriage: NHS trusts are urged to ditch ‘rule of three’ to prevent patients from losing more babies

  • Women who suffer a miscarriage will be offered help earlier under proposed new guidelines
  • Updated rules mean women can get support after a first miscarriage
  • Many women struggle to find an underlying cause for baby loss and are told to try again 


Women who suffer a miscarriage will be offered help earlier under proposed new guidelines to stop them losing more babies.

Currently they are eligible for tests and investigations on the NHS only if they have three miscarriages in a row.

Charities say this ‘rule of three’ results in thousands of women and their partners experiencing devastating further losses that could be prevented.

Updated guidelines issued last night by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will mean women can get support after a first miscarriage.

The Royal College wants all NHS trusts to adopt the policy and revolutionise care for women who suffer the ‘distressing, shocking and traumatic experience’.

About 1 per cent of couples lose three or more babies to miscarriage, defined by the NHS as loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks. One in every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, with an estimated cost to the economy of £471million year in healthcare and lost productivity.

Many women struggle to find out if there is an underlying cause and are simply told to try again.

The new guidelines say information to boost the chances of success in future should be offered after a first miscarriage.

Women who suffer a miscarriage will be offered help earlier under proposed new guidelines to stop them losing more babies

Women who suffer a second one will be offered an appointment at a specialist clinic to help identify the cause and offer more help in future pregnancies.

After three they will be eligible for major investigation and care, such as blood tests to find any genetic abnormalities.

The guidelines, which redefine ‘recurrent miscarriage’ to include non-consecutive occurrences, are due to be finalised by the end of the year. Charities last night called for a ‘commitment from the NHS’ to implement them.

The document also summarised new evidence on potential causes of miscarriage. This highlights for the first time that the age of men is a risk factor for recurrent miscarriages. Other factors include being black or Asian, underweight or overweight, smoking, and excess caffeine intake.

Dr Edward Morris, (pictured) president of the Royal College, said: 'Miscarriage is a distressing, shocking and traumatic experience for many women and their partners. We believe women should access appropriate and standardised care after their first miscarriage and that is why we are endorsing the graded model for miscarriage care'

Dr Edward Morris, (pictured) president of the Royal College, said: ‘Miscarriage is a distressing, shocking and traumatic experience for many women and their partners. We believe women should access appropriate and standardised care after their first miscarriage and that is why we are endorsing the graded model for miscarriage care’

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College, said: ‘Miscarriage is a distressing, shocking and traumatic experience for many women and their partners.

‘We believe women should access appropriate and standardised care after their first miscarriage and that is why we are endorsing the graded model for miscarriage care.’

Jane Brewin, head of the baby loss charity Tommy’s, welcomed the move by the Royal College, which she said was in line with recommendations put forward by her organisation, backed by research published in medical journal The Lancet.

She added: ‘We know what to do and how to do it, so now we need a commitment across the NHS to develop these care pathways and improve support for everyone.’

We’ll pay for our staff’s HRT

High street chain Timpson announced yesterday that it will cover the costs of hormone replacement therapy for staff going through the menopause. 

The shoe repair and locksmith firm’s chief executive James Timpson was praised as he revealed the move on World Menopause Day.

 HRT prescriptions are free in Scotland and Wales, but patients in England must pay £9.34 for each monthly round of replacement hormones.

 MPs are campaigning to remove this iniquity. Mr Timpson said yesterday: ‘From today, all my colleagues can claim on expenses their prescription costs when they are recommended HRT.

 ‘It’s so important that we support our colleagues going through the menopause.’ 

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who is due to present a Bill on abolishing charges for HRT on October 29, said: ‘This is testament to what a fantastic employer they are and how strongly they care about the welfare of their staff.’

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