A blog about the healthcare system, and culture, in Thailand in relation to getting pregnant, having a baby, pregnancy loss and miscarriage specifically here in The Land of Smiles.
I take the most likely of 'healthcare and lifestyle events', research them in the context of the western world and compare them to Thailand experiences.
I hope this helps other future families, empowers expats, and enables better conversations with doctors. GET INFORMED, GIVE TRUE CONSENT!
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Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Miscarriage Support - A Guide to Getting Help in Thailand
Quick reference summary for Miscarriage and
Loss Support (all links are live and will take you to a new webpage):
It’s a rare evening when hubby is at a client dinner and I have
the remote control to myself, so I’m indulging in an episode of ITV’s Loose
Women. Whilst I don’t find it as hilariously funny as it used to be 5 years ago
I do find the content very relevant to my late 30’s status, talking about
insecurities with marriages, family life, fertility, health, confidence and
Whenever I tune in I seem to find a particular section that is
most relevant and today they are talking about tonight’s Coronation Street
episode where Michelle and Steve discover a problem with their pregnancy. The
baby must be born prematurely and, as it is before 24 weeks and therefore not
considered viable, the hospital policy is to not intervene if the baby does not
Kim Marsh, who plays Michelle in Coronation Street, has suffered
a miscarriage herself in real life and has referred to herself on Loose Women
in the past as an “Angel Mummy”, a phrase I have used myself when discussing
our miscarriages. I can’t begin to imagine how Kim Marsh must be feeling
whilst ‘acting’ these scenes, it is simply heartbreaking when Kim, speaking as
Michelle, sobs into Steve’s embrace asking “What did I do wrong?”. It is a
question that has caught me out spontaneously at various times. Even now I will
often say to friends that I “don’t know what I did, or what went wrong”, but
the truth, I know deep down, is that I didn’t do anything wrong, there was
nothing I could do differently, those little angels simply weren’t destined to
stay with us.
Dialogues like this on daytime television in the UK enable open
communication and conversations about difficult and heartbreaking scenarios
like miscarriage. They announce that their websites are full of help and advice
and promote women to reach out for help from their GP, family, friends and a
plethora of private facilities.
But what is here in Thailand? Where can you go in Thailand for
help and advice? Who can you talk to? What will your OB/GYN recommend to you?
It is very sad to admit that in Thailand it is hard to find
support for moments like this.
Firstly, and I find it astonishing to advise that, your OB/GYN
is very unlikely to recommend counselling to you. We have suffered 3
miscarriages, had dealings with 6 OB/GYN doctors and not once have we been
referred to, or even given a leaflet about, any counselling.
Your doctor’s advice will most likely be limited to physical and
practical matters. Firstly dealing with the immediate need to physically remove
the baby, then by prescribing necessary medicine to physically recuperate from
the miscarriage, then by suggesting further tests that may assist you to have a
successful pregnancy next time.
So, what is here in Thailand? Where can you go in Thailand for
help and advice? Who can you talk to?
Sadly, the answer is that it takes a lot of effort to find
someone to talk to here in Thailand, so I have tried (and continue to try) to
do some of the leg work for you.
My first miscarriage started at home and between contractions on
the toilet I goggled frantically. My first reference point was The NHS. This explained what was physically happening to me and the
options I might have when I could get to the hospital. Getting to the hospital
was not an option for me for at least a few hours as I waited for the
contractions and bleeding to settle down, so I read on.
The NHS website gave
reference to other online material and I turned to The Miscarriage Associationfor more information . I found
the information on this website the most useful and use it as a good reference
point for anyone that has suffered a miscarriage anywhere in the world.
But I was not happy to accept that there was no one to turn to
in Thailand. Whilst the doctors may be woefully lacking in emotional support I
am pleased to advise that I have found other resources that you can turn to,
and that will be empathetic to your physical, emotional and cultural needs.
I can personally recommend Samantha Pryor (The Bangkok Counsellor) as an amazing option to talk through all manner of emotional
and psychological needs. She has a unique, open, and friendly approach, which
works equally well for men and women, as we cannot forget that miscarriage
affects men, for every miscarriage there is a Angel Mum and an Angel Dad. Sam
offers a free initial consultation and is very accessible, both in terms of
physical location, flexibility of appointments and accessibility by personal
messaging to ensure you feel supported whenever, wherever needed.
As a member of the Facebook group The Mummy Club I have conducted a search for support for miscarriage
sufferers and whilst I do not have personal experience of these professionals I
am pleased to see that there are some points of reference:
Denise Love's website, experience and groups
deal with a range of emotions and support women may need for birth and birthing
options, counselling through loss, coping with life and death experiences.
Having spoken to the Doulas of Bangkok I would reference them also as a resource for support.
Whilst they may not be trained in counselling, they have acute experience of
many scenarios of birthing and are a lovely group of women that will not turn
you away if you need emotional support.
You can also reach out to the BAMBI group who
reference a support group called Compassionate Friends, which is a
support group for parents and other family members who have lost a child or
children either post or prenatally. For more information they say you can contact
Nicole Lasas on 085-240-3803 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Gregor Former on email@example.com.
In addition to the resources I have found in Thailand we
live in a connected world and I have been inspired by the Loose Women programme
today to see what resources ITV.comrecommend in the UK. I am pleased to see a myriad of online
resources that we can equally tap into from Thailand, see below for extracts
from the website and contact details accordingly (all telephone numbers are UK based):
The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID the
Foundation for the Study of Infant Death)
The UK's leading baby charity working to prevent sudden deaths
and promote health. Lullaby funds research, supports bereaved families and
promotes safe baby care advice, including helpline for bereaved parents and
their families, friends, neighbours and anyone else who has experienced the
sudden death of a baby.
We know that miscarriage can be a very unhappy, frightening and
lonely experience. If you have been affected by the loss of a baby in
pregnancy, whether recently or long ago, we hope that you will find here
support, information and comfort.
Funds medical research into miscarriage, stillbirth and
premature birth and provides information on having a healthy baby. Raises
awareness of the facts and provides free, accurate and up-to-date information
for medical professionals and parents-to-be. This includes a dedicated
telephone midwife service, a comprehensive website and free books and leaflets
dedicated to promoting health in pregnancy and pre-pregnancy.
Kicks Count is a UK registered charity that aims to empower mums
to be with knowledge and confidence throughout their pregnancy. A baby’s
movement indicate its wellbeing and by understanding their baby, mums can be
empowered to trust their instincts and ensure the healthy delivery of their
A registered national charity, established to meet the needs of
people who have experienced ectopic pregnancy and the health care professionals
who care for them. The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust believes that the deaths and
trauma associated with ectopic pregnancy should be prevented and seeks to both
relieve the distress associated with it and provide ongoing support.
The Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation (EPF) has been established with
the aim of improving the care of women with a diagnosis, or possible diagnosis,
of ectopic pregnancy. We hope to reduce the morbidity and maternal mortality
caused by this common condition. For patients the
website provides information on what an ectopic pregnancy is, plus the risk
factors, symptoms, investigations and treatment options.
The Child Death Helpline
Freephone: 0800 282 986
Additional Freephone number for ALL mobiles: 0808 800 6019
Life After Loss is an online support community set up in
November 2006 by bereaved mothers who find support and friendship through
sharing their grief over the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or after
For families who have lost one or more children from a multiple
birth, during pregnancy or at any stage afterwards. The Bereavement Support
Group provides parent to parent support through a befriending service, all our
befrienders are volunteers who have suffered a loss from a multiple pregnancy
The Lone Twin Network (LTN) is a support network,
primarily serving the UK, but with many members overseas. All members are
surviving twins and have that unique understanding of what it means to lose
part of yourself when your twin - identical or fraternal - dies. Our membership
comprises surviving twins who lost their sibling before, at or around birth; in
childhood or as an adult.
Let me leave you with a personal request, please do not try to cope alone if you simply cannot. Reach out for help to any of the above resources, or simply reply to this post. I will do all I can to find resource that is right for you, maybe that is just a coffee and a chat, and if that is the case I am always happy to meet up and chat.