Miscarriage / Stillbirth
The loss of a pregnancy is a bereavement for the parents regardless of the time since the positive pregnancy test. You are entitled to sick leave [NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook | NHS Employers] and should take time to look after yourself and recover and not feel under pressure to return to work until you are ready.
The Scottish pregnancy survey revealed that the majority of colleagues felt that up to 2 weeks leave would be appropriate following a miscarriage – however, most took no leave and the average leave taken was just 2.5 days.
In the event your baby is stillborn after the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, you are entitled to the same amount of maternity leave and pay as if your baby was born alive [NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook | NHS Employers].
A Trainees Account of Recurrent Miscarriage
"I had recurrent miscarriages and ended up under a tertiary team lots of investigations etc. after my third miscarriage. I really struggled as we had had multiple healthy scans and then no heartbeat seen once again on check up. I got poor support from the hospital which didn't help the matter but as a lot of us do, tried to plod on. I was working for our TPD at the time who was great. He stayed in regular personal contact with me email but also gave me his mobile number in case I needed him (I think he was happy I wasn't going to abuse it) initially he tried to get me to take some time off, I initially refused, but clearly said to me I could leave clinic/ theatre any time I wanted I just needed to let him know and I could go, or not turn up in the morning if I couldn't face it. He arranged counselling and support through Occupational Health for me as I wasn't getting support from the hospital. I did however use the BMA free counselling service over the phone which was available pretty much next day and is free even to non BMA members.
I took two weeks off via GP sick note, on my return I had a modified return to work, again could leave any time I needed to, I was taken off on calls (again on full pay) and told to take as long as I needed. In addition we worked out a plan in advance of what would happen if I became pregnant again.
We agreed that upon positive pregnancy test I would come off on calls with immediate effect to try and reduced any anxiety or stress. I have since become pregnant twice and both times at two different hospitals this plan was instigated with no issue, unfortunately one of these pregnancies ended in missed miscarriage and the other in ectopic but I know I did everything I could during that time to avoid stress.
Without the support from the deanery and TDP, and in fact all hospitals, I wouldn't be in nearly as good a state as I am in now. They have been amazing, I have found being open and honest with them helped rather than hiding behind the stigma of what was going on.
In addition I am sure some of the other registrars were frustrated about sudden onset gaps in the on call rota but on the whole they knew why and were very supportive."
- Early miscarriage: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG154.
- Late miscarriage: www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/gtg55.
- Recurrent miscarriage: www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/gtg17.
- Stillbirth: www.tommys.org/baby-loss-support/stillbirth-information-and-support/what-is-stillbirth.