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Baby Loss Awareness Week

Part of Business of the House (Prorogation) – in the House of Commons at 6:18 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 6:18 pm, 8th October 2019

I thank the Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage, in her absence, for moving the motion. It is always a pleasure to follow Sarah Champion.

We have heard some marvellous speeches today about personal experiences, and every one of them has been very poignant and has encapsulated what this is all about. I have spoken to previous motions on baby loss, and I am happy to continue doing so in remembrance of those little lives lost.

The fact of the matter is that, since last year, more hearts have been broken, more arms have been left empty and more grief has entered homes throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That deserves recognition in the House this year and every year, as Victoria Prentis said.

This does not take away from anyone else who has contributed to the debate, but I would particularly like to mention the hon. Members for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), for Eddisbury (Antoinette Sandbach) and for Colchester (Will Quince). In our debates in this House they have told us their personal stories and have helped us to understand exactly what it means to lose a child. One thing that came out of those Adjournment debates and those contributions in this House was the need to have a separate room in hospital where people can grieve and have privacy, and Andrew Percy talked about the one in his constituency. [Interruption.] I hope Members excuse me; I have a bit of a chest infection and am trying to keep it off if I can.

I mentioned the next thing to the hon. Member for Colchester and he can probably remember it: the importance of having faith involved, as people can use that to help get to the other side of the grieving process. Where there are rooms where people can have privacy, it is important that they can call upon someone of faith to come to give support. The hon. Member for Rotherham spoke about how important it is to have someone to speak to, relate to and understand.

Most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks, which is known as “early pregnancy”, and an estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage—it is one in five if we only count women who realise and report the miscarriage. About 11 in 1,000 pregnancies are ectopic. About one in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages—three or more in a row—and more than six in 10 women who have a recurrent miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage greatly reduces in the second trimester—miscarriages then are called “late miscarriage”. My mother miscarried on three occasions, and seven in our family have had this happen; my sister also miscarried on three occasions. The girl who is, in effect, my Parliamentary Private Secretary and writes my speeches in this House—she is a very busy girl, as people would understand, given the contributions that are made—has also had two miscarriages.