Thursday 17 October 2019

Woman lies upside down for three months to avoid miscarriage

Donna Kelly with her daughter Amelia and the hospital bed where she spent three months lying with her feet above her head
Donna Kelly with her daughter Amelia and the hospital bed where she spent three months lying with her feet above her head

DONNA Kelly, a pregnant mother who had suffered repeated miscarriages, has given birth to a girl after lying upside down for three months.

Mrs Kelly, 29, suffered from a weak cervix and was warned at five months into the pregnancy that she was at high risk of losing another baby.

She agreed to spend 24 hours a day on a hospital bed which was tilted skywards to lift her feet above her head and reduce pressure on her cervix.

Under the supervision of Professor Siobhan Quenby, a world-expert on recurrent miscarriages, she ate, read and watched television in the position, only leaving her bed to visit the toilet.

She gave birth to Amelia, weighing 4lbs 15ozs, six weeks prematurely by emergency caesarean after her waters broke in late August. The baby spent two weeks in an incubator in intensive care before being allowed home.

The birth of her first child, Joshua, four years ago is believed to have permanently weakened her cervix. She miscarried twice, at 23 weeks and 19 weeks, before Amelia was conceived. Attempts to stitch the neck of her cervix and strengthen it with hormone were unsuccessful.

"I was surprised when she told me to lie in bed at a tilt but I was ready to give anything a try," said Mrs Kelly, a former gynaecological nurse from Coventry.

"It made me feel sick and I had a massive head rush at first but after a couple of days my body adjusted and I soon got used to it.

"I'd even have to stay in the bed to eat by rolling onto my side, but I'd always have a dead arm by the end.

"It could be boring at times but I knew it wouldn't be as painful as losing my baby."

"After the first miscarriage you think it's just bad luck, but when it happens again you begin to suspect there is something seriously wrong."

Donna and her husband Mark, 32, a Sky installation engineer, are now looking forward to their first Christmas together as a family.

"Mark and I had a calendar and we'd cross off each day - the way I saw it, one day more in bed hopefully meant one day less in special care for the baby if she arrived too prematurely.

"The hardest thing was spending so much time away from my four-year-old son Joshua - but three months away from him for the sake of giving him a sibling is worth it.

"Professor Quenby was wonderful and so dedicated - I can't praise her enough."

Professor Quenby, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said: "Donna's condition is rare - second trimester miscarriages only occur in about 0.5 per cent of women - and while the treatment may sound strange, it is very effective.

"We are currently undertaking research at University Hospital to replace this with something more pleasant for the patient which doesn't rely on them staying in hospital."

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