Published on 21 Dec 2011 Sections ,

Tilting bed offers new angle on pregnancy

A woman who suffered a series of miscarriages has managed to give birth to a healthy baby girl – after doctors came up with a radical solution.

Donna Kelly, who is 29, was five months into her pregnancy when a scan reveraled that she was at high risk of another miscarriage. But Professor Sobhan Quenby, from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, came up with a simple but effective idea.

She told Donna to spend three months lying in a tilted bed, with her head pointing to the floor and her feet in the air, in an attempt to defy gravity and relieve the pressure on her cervix.

She spent more than 10 weeks in hospital, lying practically upside down for 24 hours a day – only getting up to use the toilet. She told Channel 4 News she had not really got bored. “It’s not often you get to put your feet up and read all the magazines and books you like!”

And she said the only problems came at the start. “All the blood rushes to your head and I felt really sick. That passed after a few days. Once Amelia was born I was really weak. I had trouble standing up on my own and my legs became swollen”.

It’s indescribable to have a perfectly healthy little girl. Donna Kelly

Her husband Mark and their four-year-old son Joshua managed to visit her every evening, to help keep up her spirits. Amelia was born six weeks early in August, weighing 4lb 15oz, and spent a fortnight in an incubator before being allowed home.

Professor Quenby, who heads some of Britain’s most important research into recurring miscrarriage, told this programme she was delighted that her relatively simple idea had worked. “Having been with Donna when she lost her other children we were determined that this one would get to term.

“In the old days, mothers were told to put their feet up and rest. Nowadays, mothers are expected to carry on as normal until the day they give birth. I think something in between is advisable.”

Ms Kelly said spending three months away from her family, in highly unusual conditions, had definitely been worth it. “It’s indescribable to have a perfectly healthy little girl after having lost two children and overcome so many odds”, she said.