Urgent Safeguarding Update – Concealed Pregnancies

During the Covid pandemic, there has been an increase of reported concealed pregnancies regionally, resulting in the death of an infant. Some of you may be aware of a recent baby found at the Milton Recycling Centre featured in the press.

 A concealed pregnancy is when a woman knows she is pregnant but does not tell anyone or those who conceal the fact from all caring and health agencies. It may also be where a woman appears genuinely unaware she is pregnant.

 A denied pregnancy is when a woman is unaware or unable to accept the existence of her pregnancy. Physical changes to the body may not present or be misconstrued, the woman may be intellectually aware of the pregnancy but continue to think, feel and behave as though they are not pregnant.

The Safeguarding Team would ask all patient facing staff to remain vigilant to the possibility of the existence of a concealed pregnancy and this should be considered as part of all assessments where staff have been called to attend any vaginal bleeding.

 The patient may;

  • deny pregnancy
  • wear uncharacteristically baggy clothing
  • fail to produce their maternity notes without plausible reasoning as to why
  • be unknown to local maternity services
  • refuse to be transported to hospital for further assessment

There is a duty of care to the baby and to the mother, neither of these should be compromised. If you have safeguarding concerns in relation to the mother/baby, they should be transported to hospital where you can express your concerns and full inter-agency checks can be made. Further safeguarding advice can be provided through CAL if required.

If there is any suspicion of concealed, denied or late booking pregnancy, a SPOC referral should be made immediately.

 If the pregnant girl/young person and/or the baby’s father are under the age of 13 the Police should also be informed.

The woman should be informed that the referral has been made, the only exception being if there are significant concerns for her safety or that of the unborn child.

You can find the full article here

Published 20th July 2020

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