Lesley Regan discusses the topic of miscarriage, like why they happen and what you can do to prevent them.
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Catrina Skepper: For pregnant women, there is nothing more devastating than a miscarriage. Professor Lesley Regan, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist from Imperial College at St. Mary's Hospital in London, is here to answer questions on miscarriage. Why they happen and whether anything could be done to prevent them? Welcome Lesley. This is such a big topic, but it's also perhaps one of the most talked about and yet misunderstood topics about pregnancy because people fear it. What exactly is a miscarriage? Lesley Regan: Well, a miscarriage is any pregnancy that ends spontaneously before the baby has got to a viable state. Catrina Skepper: And a viable state -- Lesley Regan: -- which is all heard of posh words for saying it anything between the time of the positive pregnancy test and 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Catrina Skepper: So assuming that you know you're pregnant, you would obviously know that you've miscarried. Lesley Regan: Well, most women do. Most women have symptoms of bleeding, pain. Of course, there are some women there in which the pregnancy will die and they don't find out and this is happened until they go along for a hospital appointment and have a scan. And for those women, I think it could be particularly devastating not a loss of the baby, but there is also a feeling, oh, my god and I didn't even recognize that the baby had died. And that I think often makes many of them feel very, very inadequate as well as distressed by the news. Catrina Skepper: Yes, because the distress is compounded by the fact that immediately you must think I have done something wrong. It could have been averted. I'm assuming the most commonly asked question is, why? Lesley Regan: What could I have done to stop it? What did I do to make it happen? I think most of the time, I can reassure people or I can try to reassure them that nothing they could have done about it, would have changed it. And that having sex, riding a horse, swimming, going to the yoga club, none of this would have actually affected it. But of course, because miscarriage is so common and because women in the first three months of pregnancy are usually feeling relatively well and are active. They are embarking on doing things and I have very common question is, oh, I miscarry and I keep miscarrying after I've been in airplane. I must not fly again. Of course, it's nothing to do with being on the airplane. It's to do with the fact that you're more likely to be traveling somewhere at six weeks or eights weeks into the pregnancy rather than the 36 weeks. And those things occur then. Catrina Skepper: Did you say by what we know what we know medically and scientifically the reasons for miscarriages are still pretty complex, but on the other hand, we know and feel a lot more than we did. Women now ask the questions, after the miscarriage obviously. Lesley Regan: Yes. Catrina Skepper: What has changed so much? What is it that you now can do to help women without fear before they have miscarried, to prevent the miscarriage from occurring if there is the slightest chance? Lesley Regan: Well, I think here we have to talk about women who have had their several miscarriages because these are the women that who are wanting to have answers and questions, answers to their questions. In fact, now expect to be investigated in quite a sophisticated way. I think it's fair to say that in the last 20 years, things have really changed. When I was a Junior Registrar and first in this field, I was completely and utterly perplexed by the lack of information in text books and I would be faced by couples in the middle of the night and saying well, why did it happen, and all I had in my repertoire was, well it's bad luck and it's nature where certain things happen. It became very obvious to me that this really wasn't acceptable to most couples and I tried to put myself in this women's position and now I wouldn't want them to tell me that either. Catrina Skepper: Of course you did, because the
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