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Novel treatment prevents miscarriage for Coventry mum

Four-year-old Joshua from Coventry has got his Christmas wish – the safe arrival of his baby sister.

His mum had to lie in bed tilted at an angle to relieve pressure on her weak cervix to prevent another miscarriage and give Joshua the sibling he always wanted.

This unusual treatment from one of the world’s leading experts in recurrent miscarriages, Professor Siobhan Quenby of Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) means mum Donna, husband Mark, Joshua and baby Amelia will be spending their first Christmas together after years of trying to complete their family.

Tragically Donna, aged 29 and Mark, aged 32, suffered two late miscarriages after the birth of Joshua in 2007.

The pregnancy was going according to plan until at about 20 weeks into the pregnancy, when a scan revealed her cervix was beginning to open and she was at high risk of another late miscarriage.

At one point the baby was just one inch away from the top of her cervix. It was hoped that using gravity to move the baby away from the cervix would relieve the pressure and prevent another pre-term labour.

Professor Quenby prescribed complete bed rest and for her to lie ‘head down’. This meant that Donna had to lie on her back with her head towards the floor and her feet towards the ceiling for three months. Donna spent 24 hours a day lying on her back getting out of bed only to visit the bathroom.

Donna who used to be a gynaecology nurse said: "I thought history was repeating itself and I was devastated to think I was going to lose another baby. I was surprised when Professor Quenby said for me to lie in bed at a tilt but I was ready to give anything a try. I felt sick at first and had constant headaches but I soon got used to it. The hardest thing was spending so much time away from Joshua but three months away from him for the sake of giving him a sibling is worth it."

Professor Quenby, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at University Hospital and Warwick Medical School said: “The team who looked after Donna at UHCW is delighted with the safe delivery of baby Amelia and we are pleased she is doing well. Donna's condition is rare (second trimester, 14-22 weeks miscarriages only occur in about 0.5%) and while the treatment may sound strange, it is very effective.

We are currently undertaking research at University Hospital to replace this with something more pleasant for the patient which doesn’t rely on them staying in hospital.”

Throughout her pregnancy Donna was told that if she got to 28 weeks gestation there was a 95% chance the baby would survive. When that goal come and went, she set her sights on 34 weeks and at which point her waters broke and baby Amelia was born weighing 4lbs and 15ozs in August.

Donna said: “I am of course thrilled to have Amelia but there will always be a place in my heart for the babies I never knew. I wouldn’t have Amelia now if it hadn’t been for the expertise of Professor Quenby. She never gave up hope and her expertise meant that Josh now has a baby sister. The other day he was playing when he said: "Mummy, I love being a big brother". For me that makes it all worthwhile.”

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is one of the country's leading maternity services, delivering 6,500 babies each year and bucking the national trend continuing to recruit midwives.

Patients who are interested in being referred to see Professor Quenby should contact their GP in the first instance and ask for a referral to the recurrent miscarriage clinic at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

For more information please contact Professor Quenby on or via the University Hospital Communications Office on 02476 967598.