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Baby Loss Awareness Week

 Posted by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, October 2016
Baby Loss Awareness Week falls in October and our team of volunteers at the Pelvic Partnership want to spread the word about this important initiative. The charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week provide support to anyone affected by pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, and work with health professionals and services to improve care. 

Sally's story

Baby loss blog Oct 2016Sally has taken this week off to remember James; the little boy she brought into the world nine years ago but who was born prematurely, struggled to thrive and died after just 22 hours. Sally is in her 30s with six-year old twins at school and a busy job as a pharmacist in the Midlands. Since she lost James, she has taken the week off each year to remember him, to celebrate his short life and to meet with other parents who have had a still birth or lost a new baby in the first days or weeks of their birth.

Sally says she finds this period of reflection important to her and she knows that being with other parents who have similar experiences is both supportive and freeing for her. She feels she can speak out about her loss and sadness openly and she also finds it eases the pain to be able to support and befriend other parents who are just starting to cope with loss.

"Having this focus on pregnancy and baby loss gives parents, family and friends the opportunity to openly discuss their grief knowing that others will be doing the same," Sally explains. "It makes it much easier to know you are not alone, that you can discuss your feelings and that other people understand something of what you have experienced."

Spreading the word

Being able to spread the word about this campaign is particularly important to us at the Pelvic Partnership because we share a similar target audience to that of the charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week: predominantly women of childbearing age. Women who experience pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) may also have been affected by the loss of a pregnancy or baby because it affects up to one in five families within the UK. So it's important to us to extend awareness of the initiative in the hope that anyone who has lost a pregnancy or experienced the death of a baby can find support and understanding at such a painful and difficult time.

Further information and support

There are a number of charities that have come together to support Baby Loss Awareness Week. The full list can be found on the website www.babyloss-awareness.org.

Below we have given three of the charities involved together with links to their websites all of which offer further information and support to families who are coping with pregnancy or baby loss:

  • Sands - Still birth and neonatal death charity Sands supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. This charity offers emotional support and information for parents, grandparents, siblings, children, families and friends, health professionals and others. www.uk-sands.org.
  • The Lullaby Trust - This charity offers confidential support to anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young toddler. This is available immediately or at any later time in your lives. This support is for families, friends, carers and professionals. www.lullabytrust.org.uk.
  • Aching Arms Aching Arms - a baby loss charity run by a group of bereaved mothers who have experienced the pain and emptiness of leaving hospital without their much wanted baby. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss and to bring some comfort to bereaved parents and families after the loss of a baby. www.achingarms.co.uk.


Have you been a victim of pregnancy discrimination?

Posted by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, September 2016

You may have noticed that pregnancy in the workplace was back in the news recently. This followed the publication of a report by MPs on the rise of pregnant women and mothers who are being forced out of work. It's an area of discrimination that affects many women (as well as their families) and apparently figures for this have more than doubled since 2005. The Pelvic Partnership is aware that some of our members and supporters have found issues at work either with their pregnancy in general or with their symptoms of Pelvic-Girdle Pain (PGP) in particular.

A report was published on 31st August 2016 by The Women and Equalities Committee, demanding urgent action from the Government to protect the rights of pregnant women and mothers who have been forced out of work. The report outlines how, despite the vulnerability of family finances when a new baby arrives, thousands of expectant and new mothers are forced to leave work. This arises either because of concerns about the safety of their child or as a direct result of pregnancy discrimination.

"Shockingly, this figure has almost doubled in the last decade, now standing at 54,000." the Committee Chair, Maria Miller, has commented.

workWith record numbers of women in the UK workplace, this level of discrimination threatens not only the welfare of families but also has negative implications for the UK economy. There's evidence to suggest that pregnant women and mothers now face more discrimination at work than they did a decade ago. Of the women who reported discrimination, 11% stated it was as a result of being dismissed, made compulsorily redundant (when others were not) or being treated so poorly that they felt they had to leave their job (figures from research carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - replaced in July 2016 by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy - and the Equality and Human Rights Commission).*

It may serve as some consolation to know that the MPs' report urges the Government to provide new protection in law against redundancy for new and expectant mothers. It also recommends that a system is adopted similar to that used in Germany which outlines that women can be made redundant only in very specific circumstances. Recommendations also include changes to health and safety practices as well as increasing protection for casual, agency and zero-hours workers.

MPs are demanding that the Government takes urgent action to address this significant rise in workplace discrimination by publishing an ambitious and detailed plan to combat it within the next two years.

In the meantime

Ahead of any response to this report from Government, there are steps you can take if you feel you are being discriminated at work because you are pregnant or have children. Employers have to follow the law as it stands at the moment on preventing discrimination at work (see this link: www.gov.uk/employer-preventing-discrimination). You can also take action yourself if you believe you are being discriminated against. (see this link: /www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights/what-you-can-do).

Further Information:

If you are aware that your symptoms of PGP in pregnancy have sparked interest or negative comments at work, you may want to start a dialogue with your boss as early as possible. Have a look at the Pelvic Partnership's leaflet about PGP in the workplace. You can also show your employer the charity's website including information about what PGP is and its symptoms. It is often very useful to start talking to your employer as soon as you start to notice the symptoms of PGP and find it difficult to do any tasks that were not a problem before.

If you find that your boss isn't prepared to listen or that your Human Resources Department is unsympathetic, you might find it helpful to talk through your experiences and to find out your rights ahead of taking action if pregnancy or maternity discrimination has directly affected you. For example, get in touch with Citizens Advice which has an area on its website about discrimination. You may also find emotional support and assistance from the following:

  • Birthrights states that "Birthrights is the UK’s only organisation dedicated to improving women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth by promoting respect for human rights. We believe that all women are entitled to respectful maternity care that protects their fundamental rights to dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality."
  • Rights of Women is a women's charity that is "working in a number of ways to help women through the law."

* HM Government and EHRC, Pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination and disadvantage: Experiences of mothers, March 2016, pp. 38-39.

Charity Registered in England: 1100373                                           © Copyright Pelvic Partnership 2017
Please note, the Pelvic Partnership consists of volunteers who have had Pelvic Girdle Pain and wish to support other women. We aim to pass on information based on research evidence where available. We are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice. The Pelvic Partnership takes no responsibility for any action you do or do not take as a result of reading this information.
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