The NHS has changed the wording of some of its online guidance after it was criticised for describing women who have suffered a miscarriage as “pregnant people.”
Critics had claimed that by using such terms the NHS was effectively excluding women from the narrative of what is a traumatic experience.
According to The Telegraph:
The change by NHS Digital was made to its online guidance for those who suffer a miscarriage.
It originally referred to “people who know they are pregnant”, adding recurrent miscarriage “only affects about one in 100 people”.
But the passage about miscarriage, on the Overview page, has since been updated to include the word “women”.
In another, unchanged section, titled Causes, it states: “In most cases, a miscarriage is a one-off event and most people go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future.”
Meanwhile, the Emotional Impact section on the Afterwards advice page separately refers to “people” and “men”.
It states: “Sometimes the emotional impact is felt immediately after the miscarriage, whereas in other cases it can take several weeks.
“Many people affected by a miscarriage go through a bereavement period … Your partner may also be affected by the loss.
“Men sometimes find it harder to express their feelings, particularly if they feel their main role is to support the mother and not the other way round.”
In the Getting Support section on the same page, it is advised: “There are support groups that can provide or arrange counselling for people who have been affected by miscarriage.”
The word “woman” is used five times on the Causes page, where guidance refers to statistics.
The format caused a stir online. Author Milli Hill said: “It’s almost like they’re trolling us.”
Another social media user, who claimed to be a midwife, said: “As a midwife who specialises in early pregnancy and loss, this actually makes me so angry on behalf of the women I support.
“After the tragedy they have to endure to then be erased from the narrative is abhorrent and so very wrong.”
One person commented: “Partners might be affected too, but it is unclear whether this statistic includes them.
“As you and others have suggested, a meaningless statistic if it’s not clear to whom they are referring.”
NHS Digital confirmed to The Telegraph that it had made an update to its miscarriage overview page, “to clarify a statistic”.