Miscarriages stigmatised by 12-week pregnancy secrecy, says charity chief

2 August 2021, 17:28 | Updated: 2 August 2021, 17:29

By Tim Dodd

Miscarriage charity chief Zoe Clark-Coates has urged women to 'speak out about your pregnancy', telling LBC the '12-week rule' convention of women temporarily keeping news of their pregnancy a secret stigmatises baby loss.

It comes as the PM's wife Carrie Johnson spoke out about how her miscarriage at the start of the year left her "heartbroken"

Zoe Clark-Coates is CEO of Mariposa Trust Charity, which offers advice and support to anyone who has suffered the loss of a baby.

Shelagh asked Ms Clark-Coates: "When you first saw Carrie Johnson's explanation of her own situation and the nerves it brought with the current pregnancy, were you pleased she'd spoken out in that way? Is it helpful when people in her position do?"

"Yes, I think it's helpful when anybody in the public eye, or indeed any TV shows cover this subject," Ms Clark-Coates replied.

"We see a massive influx of people asking for support whenever baby loss is featured in the media, and I think it just gives people permission almost to tell their own story."

"What do people tell you about the silence that hangs over this in so many cases?" Shelagh asked.

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Ms Clark-Coates replied: "I think people really struggle with that silence, and I think some of it comes down to that 12-week rule that we all so commonly hear - don't tell anybody you're pregnant until after 12 weeks just in case you go through loss.

"And that is a not-so-subtle message of 'Don't speak about baby loss at all'. So I think a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking for that reason."

Shelagh then said that if she were pregnant she would be telling people: "Guess what? I'm pregnant!"

Ms Clark-Coates said: "If you go through loss, you need those people to support you, and it's a lot harder to tell people you've lost if they didn't know you were pregnant.

"So I always encourage people to speak out about their pregnancies from the moment they feel comfortable to do so. And of course you're going to have some that want to keep it private and that's totally a personal decision, but I really don't think as a society we should be encouraging people to stay quiet."

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