Monday 6 February 2012

Call the Midwife - Too Close for Comfort - spoiler alert!

Call the Midwife is a BBC dramatisation of the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a midwife working in the East End of London in the 1950's. I have been enjoying the series the stories are interesting, and the characterisations very strong. I haven't read Jennifer Worth's memoirs but they are on my to read list.

Last night's episode had two main stories, and it made for sobering viewing. A well-off, fit young woman went to the local clinic, with a headache, and feeling strange. She was made to feel uncomfortable by the other women there, from a different social station to her own, and didn't stay.

A week later she was due to go to her normal consultant's appointment, and her husband was driving her. She had a massive eclamptic fit in the car, and was rushed to hospital. She was 27 weeks pregnant. The baby died, just too small and the lungs too immature. The mother went into complete organ failure and subsequently died.

And yes, I know its a "story" made dramatic for television, but it is based on fact, and for me, was very sobering.

We have come along way in the 60 or so years since then. We have monitoring for every pregnant woman, here in the UK with blood pressure and urine checks standard at every appointment. We have amazing research being conducted all over the UK (and the world) in specialist centres. If the worst does happen we have awesome neonatal care, and acute ante natal care.

Women like me, 60 years ago, didn't stand a chance. The woman may have been saved through timely delivery, but would not take home her baby.

Now we know what treatments can help keep full blown eclampsia at bay. We can care for tiny babies.

However, babies and mothers still are at severe risk of pre eclampsia and it is so important that we are not complacent.

ASK about pre eclampsia - Attend all appointments, support the research, know the symptoms.


  1. I've not managed to watch this show but I agree re what you say above. I had close enough call in 2007, wouldn't have stood a chance back then.

  2. You've read my mind, I too watched this (with difficulty) and felt it was a bit to close to home, my daughter was born at 27 weeks due to pre-eclampsia and HELLP, at the time I didn't even think about my safety, and it wasn't until it was pointed out afterwards that i realised that they had delivered her for my safety, not hers. Makes you realise how very lucky we are to still be here, and more importantly to have our miracle babies here with us.

  3. A few friends told me not to watch, I had it on my Sky +, it was very sad. I feel exactly the same.

  4. A lot of people don't realise that, that the baby is delivered to save the life of the mother. I know a few people found that hard to accept with me. I felt really guilty as soon as Joseph was outside of my body, I was fine.