Pregnancy loss: Woman distressed by scan reminder after miscarriage

A woman says receiving a phone call to remind her of an upcoming pregnancy scan days after having a miscarriage "rubbed salt in the wound" at an extremely difficult time.

Emma Gooding said she was "heartbroken" after her miscarriage and found the "insensitive" call "difficult".

"I'm not critical of the staff, I'm critical of the fact that there's careless administrative errors," said Emma.

The health board has apologised.

Recalling the recent phone call, Emma said: "They said, 'hi, it's the gynae unit to remind you of your upcoming six-week scan'.

"I said, 'I won't be coming to the six-week scan because I've had a miscarriage' and then the member of staff was very apologetic and compassionate.

"She said she was really sorry, and asked if I was okay and I said 'yes'."

Emma, 36, from Chepstow, Monmouthshire, also felt uncomfortable for the staff member making the phone call.

"It's not their fault that they're having to ring me for a scan reminder because the system hasn't flagged that I've had a miscarriage," she said.

She shared what happened on X, formerly known as Twitter, and quickly realised many other women from across the UK had had similar experiences.

One X user said she had received a letter from her GP practice asking her to book a six-week check-up after her baby was stillborn.

Another said when her niece was at the funeral of her stillborn baby, she received two phone calls from an NHS clinic to see how the baby was doing.

Others recalled the trauma of recovering from a miscarriage on a maternity ward.

"It didn't surprise me that a lot of people have been through that but it surprised me a lot of people were willing to share their experiences on that thread," said Emma.

Emma, who has a four-year-old son, believes the phone call was one example of a wider issue of a "lack of compassionate care" for women experiencing loss in pregnancy.

Eight months before her miscarriage, Emma had an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb.

It is not possible for an ectopic pregnancy to be saved.

Emma said while she was on the gynaecological ward at the Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, Torfaen, following treatment, she heard a woman screaming while giving birth.

"There's no easy fix to this but it's very difficult to be going through baby loss and be around the corner from the birthing unit," she said.

"I understand that those two places probably have to exist in close proximity to each other, but it's really difficult to be in the same waiting room as pregnant women who are nearly full term or people bringing in new-born babies."

Around the due date of her ectopic pregnancy, she also received a letter from a company she had been using to track her pregnancy to congratulate her on her baby's birth and offer her a free session at a photography studio - despite the fact that she had ceased using the app and deleted it.

She has since received another promotional letter from a nappies company, also congratulating her on the birth of her baby.

Emma thinks this kind of experience could be particularly hard for someone facing infertility or pregnancy loss when they do not already have a child.

"I appreciate my experience is different in that I do have a child and there's some women experiencing what I'm experiencing who are yet to have a child, and I appreciate that that's uniquely painful in a way that I might not understand," she said.

Emma said her ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage had taken a "huge mental toll".

"You're on edge and very sensitive so a call like that can basically ruin your day but more importantly it can be really detrimental to your mental health," she said.

"It's really insensitive and really difficult to deal with."

Emma works as a policy and communications manager for the charity Samaritans Cymru.

She is currently working on a parental mental health project and feels well-versed in how to access support.

But she said if she were to receive any further correspondence that assumed she was still pregnant or had given birth, she would find that difficult to deal with.

"This is the second time I've been through baby loss this year. I think my emotions are switching to anger so personally, I will be really upset," she said.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which has responsibility for Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen in south Wales, said: "The loss of a baby during pregnancy is devastating and our thoughts are with Emma at this very difficult time.

"We sincerely apologise for the upset our call caused to Emma, and we have contacted her to follow up on her experience."

It added it was committed to improving the bereavement and baby loss services to avoid the situation occurring in future.