01:03PM, Thursday 29 August 2019
A couple who lost their first child following a premature birth are campaigning for greater monitoring of pregnant women who have previously undergone cervical treatment.
Former Maidenhead United striker Ryan Bird, 31, and his wife Emma, 29, had been expecting a baby girl but were left heartbroken when Emma suffered complications in the 26th week of her pregnancy.
Emma had been complaining of symptoms including back pain and light bleeding and had to be taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital for an emergency induction after her cervix opened unexpectedly, leading to an infection.
But doctors could not save her child, Angel, who died on Monday, June 24.
Emma said the weakness in her cervix was caused by a procedure carried out in 2015 following an abnormal smear test.
She has now launched a petition calling on the Government to put clearer guidelines in place for women who have had the so-called loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LLETS) so they are monitored more regularly during their pregnancy.
Emma, of Hatch Lane, Windsor, said: “The hospitals were absolutely amazing and the petition is not a complaint about the NHS system or its efficiency, but it’s more about educating others that have had the same procedure, making them aware of the potential risks associated with early labour.
“What happened to Jade Goody brought about the early screening of cervical cancer which is vital for women, but the treatment does come with potential risks and therefore greater monitoring of pregnant women who have had the cervical treatment needs to be implemented.”
She added that, while she was ‘hugely supportive’ of women getting early cervical smears, more research needed to be done to assess the risk of treatment and further monitoring should be put in place.
More than 4,700 people have already signed the online petition on change.org
The couple are hoping if it attracts more than 10,000 signatures the Government will consider their proposals.
Ryan, who now plays for Slough Town, said: “Everything changed suddenly and we’ve had to come to terms with the fact that we are not bringing a baby home.
“Planning a funeral for your own child is something you never expect to do.
“We have stuck together and supported each other and now want to channel our sadness into something positive by hopefully helping others.”
Guidance on the NHS website currently states that there is a slightly increased risk of premature birth if the procedure is carried out but it adds that, in most cases, the benefit outweighs the risk. It advises people to speak to a doctor or nurse if they have concerns.
Visit https://bit.ly/2zrthvD to sign the petition.
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