Q: What inspired you to write about this issue?
A: I was still getting bills for the miscarriage I had in December in late February, and getting those bills was a painful reminder of the loss. I have relatively good health insurance with a pretty low deductible/co-payment situation, and so the first thought I had was: If I’m getting all these disparate, emotionally difficult bills, women who are in worse financial and insurance situations must be having a much rougher time. And I wanted to report that out and shed some light on it, since we don’t talk about miscarriage enough in general, and we certainly don’t talk about the finances around it enough.
Q: You mentioned you’ve had to walk through your own unviable pregnancy. What lessons from your personal experience did you not share?
A: I didn’t talk much about how hard it has been as an ongoing issue. I sort of had this fantasy that once I was no longer pregnant and no longer getting bills, I’d be “over it.” But at least in my case it’s something I still think about a lot. I should also say that every woman experiences this so differently — this is definitely borne out by my reporting. So I don’t want to universalize my experience, but I don’t think it’s uncommon.
Q: What could doctors be doing differently for patients who miscarry?
A: They should always give women as many options for treatment that are possible given the individual circumstances of each person’s miscarriage. There are four common options: a surgery called a D&C in a hospital setting, a D&C in a clinic or office, expectant management (waiting to see if you pass the pregnancy naturally) or taking the drug misoprostol. For many miscarriages (but by no means all) there’s more than one potential option, but often women are just given a single option for management.
Q: What is the most shocking thing you discovered reporting on this piece?
A: It didn’t fit in my piece, but I was appalled to discover how many hospitals will not allow women to have a D&C if their baby still has a heartbeat, even if their obstetrician has said the pregnancy is absolutely not viable. It’s another example — of which there are now many — of the state getting in-between women and their doctors.
Joel Kendrick is the Assistant Editor for EHRP. Follow On Twitter @JoelKendrick.