Thursday, 23 July 2009

Coronation Street and Claire Peacock - DVT and babies after postnatal depression

Coronation Street has run another story line on Claire Peacock who suffered from puerperal psychosis with her first child in the soap opera a few years ago.

Last night the character developed further

The ITV soap featured a tragic miscarriage storyline last night when young mum, Claire Peacock played by actress Julia Haworth was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which was sadly followed by a miscarriage.

Some pregnant women face an increased risk of developing blood clots whilst pregnant due to their circulation becoming slower as a reaction to the surge of pregnancy hormone progesterone.

Coronation Street’s bubbly red head has been put through her paces over the last few years with storylines including post natal depression, kidnapping of her child and an adulterous husband – now she battles DVT and a miscarriage of a baby she didn’t know she was carrying.

The dramatic storyline, has been supported by charity AntiCoagulation Europe who believe that the programme is right to highlight this condition.

“It is estimated that 1 in 100 pregnant women will develop a blood clot so it’s so important that all pregnant women are aware of what they can be doing to reduce the risk, explains Eve Knight, Chief Executive of AntiCoagulation Europe. “If viewers are worried about blood clots they should speak to their GP or nurse.”

Find out more information on DVT and what you can do to prevent it or how to spot the signs or visit the AntiCoagulation Europe website

Another issue that this storyline touches on is the worry faced by mothers who are considering another child or get pregnant again after suffering from postnatal illness with a previous baby.

Sadly statistics show us that there is a 50% risk as opposed to 15 – 20% of developing a mental health problem after pregnancy if you have suffered one before. However, please bear in mind that every pregnancy is different and just because it happened first time is not an automatic assumption it will happen again. Yet there are ways to minimise the risk and give you more control and confidence you will be well next time as you will have less fear and far more knowledge.

It is vital to get your support team in place and ensure that in the early days after giving birth all systems are in place to allow you maximum time for rest, for yourself and your baby. Even before you get pregnant reconnect with the health professionals and family and friends involved the first time and review what worked, what didn’t and what could have been better, e.g. medication, talking therapy. Recall the early signs from last time and warn everyone to look out for them and to respond accordingly thus meaning a faster recovery. Try to plan to give birth at a different time of year to make it ‘different’ from first time. Have discussed and written plans in place for the birth and early days, for example, who will help to look after the first child. Avoid any major stressors, such as moving house. Ensure you keep physically well by eating properly, by taking gentle exercise. Make your plans to feel reassured and in control, have the support structures ready, think positively and visualise the happy pregnancy and motherhood that can be yours.

I recommend a new book by Dr Dalfern called 'When baby brings the blues' - especially the chapter which deals with the relationship between the partners.

Postnatal illness can have severe affects on many people and that is why I remain passionate and dedicated to help others.


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