By Kimberley Nightingale, a medical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued an update to its guidance on miscarriages which says that certain women can be offered the hormone progesterone to help prevent pregnancy loss.
NICE estimates that around 1,200 women with prior miscarriage and bleeding in early pregnancy could be eligible for treatment with progesterone each year and Tommy’s charity has said that this move in medicine could prevent as many as 8,450 miscarriages a year. This is such a significant and welcomed update in the guidance which will affect so many women.
How the progesterone will work
About one in five women experience bleeding in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and although it often causes no problems some may experience the threat of a miscarriage where bleeding continues along with the pregnancy. The new NICE guidance recommends inserting progesterone pessaries twice a day and research into this shows that the more miscarriages a women suffered, the more effective progesterone was.
Research shows that about one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and the vast majority of these are in the first few months or trimester.
There is a long way to go before understanding the best treatments for unexplained pregnancy loss and the evidence is clear that progesterone treatment will not be able to prevent every miscarriage and other effective treatments need to be found. It will, however, be of benefit to some women out there and is an inexpensive treatment option which can be made available to women on the NHS form today.
Support is key for families
As a medical negligence solicitor, I have supported parents and families with the loss of a baby. Through my investigations, baby loss is such a difficult time for parents and for them, knowing that there is the risk of losing another baby is heart-breaking.
Knowing that progesterone is a robust and effective treatment option for many women will take away some of the pain and loss for some parents and I am so pleased that there is the opportunity now to avoid future miscarriages and give families hope.
Sands is one of the many charities that we signpost our clients to for support when they have lost a baby. It is a UK-based charity that works across the country to support anyone affected by the loss of a baby. If you are affected in any way, you can contact them on 0808 164 3332 for further support.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and their families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated medical negligence section.
Women who experience bleeding in early pregnancy and have had at least one miscarriage should be treated with the hormone progesterone. The new guidance, from the health watchdog NICE, is based on research suggesting the treatment could lead to 8,450 more births each year in the UK.