Jem shares her story of recurrent miscarriages due to an undiagnosed underlying health condition

I was very lucky to be able to have two beautiful daughters but I had a miscarriage between the two which I just assumed was because something wasn’t right.
After we had our second daughter we decided to make our family complete we’d dearly love to have one more child. After a year of trying I was so happy to fall pregnant but sadly I had another miscarriage, this time later on in the first trimester. We kept trying and again I fell pregnant only to sadly lose again.
I was referred to the multiple loss clinic who decided to do a blood test for Antiphospholipid Syndrome (also known as Hughes Syndrome) which means your blood clots much more easily than other people and it can put you more at risk of miscarriages, strokes and other blood clotting issues such as pulmonary embolisms and DVTs. My test came back positive as did the next one done 12 weeks later to confirm it. I now had an answer to why I kept having miscarriages.
Then next time I fell pregnant I had an early scan at 8 weeks which seemed to be going well and I was started on Fragmin blood thinning injections daily alongside aspirin tablets. Sadly this came too late as the next scan showed no heartbeat and I ended up having a D&C (surgical management) After this I was on Fragmin for another six weeks to stop clotting.
We kept trying and managed to fall pregnant again within six months but at the early scan at 8 weeks there was just an empty sac but I still had to have another six weeks of Fragmin post loss. We kept trying again and eventually after over a year I fell pregnant but sadly lost again before the first scan, another six weeks of Fragmin injections. Because of my age, the APS and amount of miscarriages, I’ve now finally got the specialist and GP to agree to start the injections, along with progesterone, aspirin and extra folic acid from day one of positive pregnancy test if I ever manage to fall pregnant again.
I wanted to tell my story to help those out there who might have APS and don’t know it, and those who know they have it, to get the medical help they need at the right time. There is official guidance available to GPs on how to treat APS in pregnancy but it’s dealt with slightly differently in different areas of the UK. Some do early scans at 6 weeks, some at 7/8 weeks. Some places start medication from day one of positive test (a few specialists recommend aspirin and occasionally Fragmin from ovulation) and some won’t start the Fragmin until after an early positive viability scan. They don’t usually test for APS until after three losses but there’s a campaign to try to get it done after two.
There are some great charities out there who can help and advise and the APS Support UK also offers an online course for GPs and they’re working on one for Midwives to create more awareness. Despite my own experience I know of many women who have had successful pregnancies after being diagnosed who were given the right treatment which is great news.
Our thanks to Jem for sharing her story.