This week, I visited Imperial College London to see the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research with the lovely Marina Fogle. Marina is founder of The Bump Class and author of The Parenthood podcast.
After suffering two miscarriages and fertility struggles – I know how devastating and heart-breaking it is. People are incredibly supportive, but after a while that positivity and encouragement becomes a little like white noise. You continue going through the motions of daily life and ‘getting on with it’, but really all you want to know is why?
When you suffer miscarriage or infertility issues, ‘why’ becomes a pretty constant mantra. The impact to your mental well-being is immediate and prolonged. I lost all my confidence. And although you know it isn’t the case, you feel totally alone and isolated, like you are the only couple going through it.
The overwhelming feeling I got when I visited Tommy’s was hope for the future. Every day the incredible medical teams at Tommy’s are investigating the causes of and developing treatments to prevent this heart-breaking problem which affects so many parents. Women currently have to have had three miscarriages before doctors will refer them to a specialist, despite the known psychological impact of a miscarriage; Tommy’s is working to change this.
Marina and I heard about some of the amazing research projects underway, for example looking at the possible link between the microbiome and miscarriage and how high-res scanning in very early pregnancy could pick up possible risk factors. Frighteningly, Tommy’s research has already shown that whilst it was thought that around one in four pregnancies ended in miscarriage, the real figures are more like one in three; hence it being so inspiring to come across a team of people who are determined to find the solutions.
The team is not just about medical research though – Tommy’s is also active in providing evidence-based pregnancy information and developing behavioural change tools to help parents increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy. Last week they launched #AreYouReady encouraging women to consider making lifestyle changes before getting pregnant.
Thank you Marina for inviting me to join you at Tommy’s. Thank you to everyone at Tommy’s for taking the time to show us around and for introducing us to your incredible team so we could learn more about your research. You have given us hope that one day you will find the answers to those devastating questions that too many couples have found themselves asking.