The Week I Feared My Baby Was Lost; TV Presenter Fiona Bruce, 40, Was Five Months Pregnant When She Was Told That Something Could Be Wrong with Her Baby. Here She Explains Why the Charity Action Medical Research Means So Much to Her

Article excerpt


I WAS one of the presenters covering the last general election for the BBC and I was pregnant with my second child, Mia. Then, one Monday, I got a test result which showed that she might have Down's syndrome. That was frightening enough, but I had a follow-up ultrasound and it seemed that she may not even survive.

I had to get through a whole week of interviewing politicians while being frantically worried about these test results. It was only on the Friday that I finally got a call saying the second round of tests were fine - that she would not only live but was not a Down's baby.

It was a traumatic experience. If I hadn't had work to focus on I would have gone mad, but I think the trauma really made me appreciate all the more the work that Action Medical Research funds.

AMR works with the country's leading scientists who put forward proposals for research. AMR then considers these and funds them on the basis of what research it believes will do the most good - not necessarily the most headline-grabbing.

For example, it funds research into incontinence, which is not a "sexy" subject for newspapers or magazines and clearly not an easy area in which to raise money.

However, for those for whom it is a big problem, it is wonderful that there is a charity fighting their corner by putting money into research.

I got involved with AMR six years ago when I started presenting the BBC's 6 O'Clock News shortly after my boy, Sam, was born at University College Hospital, London.

I discovered that AMR funds the premature-baby unit there and I met Professor John Wyatt, who heads the project. I became a trustee for a few years.

There are around 50,000 babies born prematurely every year but few hospitals can track those babies once they are growing up. That is important because children born prematurely often have problems for the rest of their lives.

The research needs to go on for many years and is often prohibitively expensive.

The work Professor Wyatt is doing with the help of AMR is incredible. On a number of occasions after I had Sam at his hospital he asked me to have a look at the babies in the intensive-care unit. I was nervous of doing that until I had finished having my own family - I thought I would find it too upsetting to see such tiny babies clinging to life by a thread. …


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