The club’s speaker on 4th May 2022 was Phil Godfrey, a member of the Rotary Club of Solihull. Phil’s wife sadly died from APS, undiagnosed for over 40 years. Phil was determined to make people aware of the condition and try to save other deaths; he is now and ambassador for APS Awareness and has travelled the country by foot and train to publicise APS and raise funds. The following is an article from the April 2022 issue of the magazine, Rotary, which Phil has agreed I may reproduce for my report.
“Sadly, the reasons for miscarriages are many.
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune condition which affects the blood and causes it to clot too quickly. It is the most significant treatable cause of recurrent miscarriage, and women with APS are five times more likely to have a stillbirth.
My wife Christine suffered from APS for some 40 years, but was not diagnosed until 2005, by which time she had become totally paralysed and confined to a wheelchair, needing 24 hour care.
One of the implications of APS is infertility, and as such we never had children. Sadly, she died from the condition in 2015. All this due to thickening and clotting of the blood.
Since then, I have been touring the British Isles, giving talks to Rotary, Inner Wheel and other groups to raise awareness of APS which, hopefully, will help to change the miscarriage story in this country. So far, I have been made very welcome at 394 clubs, and raised £293,000.
Women after one miscarriage are 1.2 times more likely to have a premature birth. After two miscarriages that figure is 1.4 times more likely and after three 1.8 times.”
In light of the publication of the Lancet series of papers on miscarriage, in April 2021, which describe the prevalence, impact and evidence for best practice in miscarriage care, an overhaul of miscarriage services in England is now urgently needed, so it is effective, fair and equitable to all.
Tommy’s, the St Thomas’ Hospital Baby Charity based in London, together with 22 other miscarriage-related charities, are now pressing the Health Secretary to include an overhaul of miscarriage services within the Women’s Health Strategy, being formulated this year.
APS Support UK, which I have been supporting, is one of the 22 charities involved. APS is associated with other complications such as infertility, pre –eclampsia, low weight babies and premature births.
The short-term national economic costs of all causes of miscarriage, associated with immediate costs to hospital and community health and social services, are estimated to be £471 million annually to the UK.
Taking a wider view of miscarriage would undoubtedly raise this figure, once GP-associated costs and the costs of caring for couples with psychological conditions caused by a miscarriage are included. Other factors to consider would be longer-term employment and occupational status, income, and receipt of social welfare benefits.
Women after one miscarriage are 1.2 times more likely to have a premature birth. After two miscarriages that figure is 1.4 times more likely and after three 1.8 times.
Miscarriage is associated with an increased risk of placental dysfunction disorders in later pregnancies.
A review found that after three miscarriages women are 1.7 times more likely to experience placental abruption in a later pregnancy, and 1.6 times more likely to have a stillbirth.
Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and suicide are strongly associated with miscarriage. It is important to note that it is not only recurrent miscarriage that is associated with these psychological conditions, but also that one miscarriage can have a significant psychological impact.”
Questions after Phil’s talk were numerous and club President Geoff Gander thanked Phil for an enlightening talk and wished him well for the campaign.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON APS, PLEASE VISIT APS Support UK | APS - antiphospholipid syndrome (aps-support.org.uk)
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