Conditions that threaten women’s lives in childbirth & pregnancy


Age at interview: 34
Age at diagnosis: 30

Brief outline: Jo was expecting her first child. Three weeks before her due date she started to bleed and called an ambulance. She had suffered a placental abruption. On arrival at hospital she had an emergency caesarian to deliver her son.

Background: Jo is a teacher, married with two children. White British.

Audio & video

During her first pregnancy, Jo felt a general malaise, although did not pin point anything being wrong. At seven months she developed slightly high blood pressure and oedema (swelling) and went into hospital for checks, but doctors thought is was nothing too serious. Three weeks before her due date, she went to the toilet and noticed some bleeding. The bleeding increased and so she immediately phoned the hospital and they sent an ambulance. Although she had never been in labour before she had an instinct that something was wrong, and that she should stay calm and not push. The ambulance crew asked her if she felt like pushing, and she said no. Once she arrived at hospital, the crash team was called and she had an emergency caesarean to deliver her baby. She was later told she had had a sudden onset of pre-eclampsia, which they thought had caused the placental abruption, but they couldn’t say definitively.


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