Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Breaking the Taboo of Miscarriage; Common as It Is, Every Miscarriage Is a Tragedy. but New Advances in Understanding the Causes Are Some Comfort

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Breaking the Taboo of Miscarriage; Common as It Is, Every Miscarriage Is a Tragedy. but New Advances in Understanding the Causes Are Some Comfort

Article excerpt

Byline: ALICE HART-DAVIS

POOR Nicole Kidman. What a tragedy, that she should have had a miscarriage after trying for a child of her own for so long. Miscarriage is a horribly common and hugely depressing experience. According to medical authorities about one in four pregnancies ends that way ( about is the right word, because most miscarriages are not recorded), but it is only recently that women have begun to talk of it.

Professor Lesley Regan, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary s, Paddington, where she runs the recurrent-miscarriage clinic, is an internationally renowned teacher and researcher in the field. Miscarriage has always been a bit taboo, she says.

Because no one understands the mechanisms behind it, it was always assumed that it had happened because you had done something wrong.

Now, we're trying to turn this thinking around. It is very unusual for miscarriage to occur because you have done something wrong. The most common reason for is-carriage is a genetic abnormality a bad-luck miscarriage, you might call it. At the clinic, I spent a lot of time trying to work out whether women who have had miscarriages have had random, bad-luck miscarriages or whether there s an underlying problem.

Professor Regan s new book (Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs to Know) details the recent advances in the fields of reproductive immunology and prothrombotic disorders (an exaggerated blood-clotting response to pregnancy), which have helped identify a further group of women with previously unexplained miscarriages.

Ruth Bender Atik, national director of The Miscarriage Association, sounds a note of caution. In many ways, we haven t made huge advances.

A lot is still guesswork. The new discoveries are very good news, but they affect a relatively small number of the women who miscarry.

Most women who miscarry do so once, but most women don t have the causes of miscarriages investigated unless they ve miscarried three times in a row. …

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