Luton MP campaigning for better support for bereaved parents after miscarriage or stillbirths praises hospital for emergency care for her and her unborn child

A Luton MP has publicly thanked the NHS staff who helped her cope with a traumatic incident during her pregnancy.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:19 pm
Sarah Owen MP has campaigned for more support for bereaved parents suffering miscarriage or stillborns

Sarah Owen, MP for Luton North, has been leading a Bill to extend entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay to parents of babies miscarried or stillborn during early pregnancy.

She has spoken openly of losing a child to miscarriage before the birth of a daughter in 2020, and a further loss when she miscarried twins.

At the weekend she went to the L&D after complications with her latest pregnancy.

She said: “This isn’t how I imagined sharing this news but pregnancy isn’t all earth mothering serenity on a lily pad, sometimes it is brutal.

It’s important pregnancy stigma/myth are removed if we want progress. I’m relieved to say baby is ok & so grateful to everyone at @LandDHospital.”

Ms Owen suffered a sudden heavy bleed and was diagnosed with a subchorionic haematoma after going to the L&D.

“Despite wanting to stay at home and tough it out, I followed advice given to pregnant women and got medical advice ASAP and I’m glad I did,” she said.

"The terms ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ birth should have no place in medical or social settings. The priority should always be safety not ideology.

"I am thankful to have left hospital now but a massive thanks to the team on ward 34 who were wonderful.”

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Ms Owen has been candid about the impact on her physical and mental wellbeing after her miscarriages.

Promoting her Bill last year she said: “I was not prepared for the grief of miscarrying. I was even more shocked that I was not entitled to bereavement leave but legally had to take sick leave instead. But what I was feeling was not a sickness. It was physically painful, yes, but my overriding feeling was grief: a deep sense of loss of hopes, dreams and mourning a lost future with babies I never got to hold.

“This happens to about one in four pregnancies. The Miscarriage Association reports that about a quarter of a million people each year in the UK miscarry. This issue impacts families who have got in touch with me in Luton North, but in every constituency in the country there will be families who face this grief everywhere. I cannot believe that in 2021 people are being forced to take sick leave to process their grief.

“I cannot imagine going through all that without a supportive employer, yet thousands of women in this country do, and that is why the law must change.

“The first time, it took me two days to completely miscarry. The second time, I carried the little ones around with me for nearly a week until I went under general anaesthetic to have them removed.

“No woman should feel compelled to stay at home or stay in work; they should have the space and choice about how to grieve.”

The Bill is expected to go through its Second Reading in May.

She said this week: “I will continue to do my job – as always with a special place in my heart for the good people who work in our NHS and for the patients who need it.”

For more information about miscarriage and stillbirth go to http://www.tommys.org or