Mother says her twin babies' lives could have been saved if doctors gave her a ...

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Lucy Offord, 20, says her twin babies' lives could have been saved if doctors had given her a cervical stitch to prevent a premature birth at just 22 weeks

Lucy Offord, 20, says her twin babies' lives could have been saved if doctors had given her a cervical stitch to prevent a premature birth at just 22 weeks

A heartbroken mother says her twin babies' lives could have been saved if doctors had given her a cervical stitch, which may have prevented them being born prematurely after just 22 weeks. 

Lucy Offord, 20, claims her 13-week scan showed her cervix was dangerously short, which put her babies at risk of being born too early.

A short cervix may open too soon, therefore a stitch, normally offered between 12 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, keeps it closed. 

Miss Offord, from Chatham in Kent, went into labour at 22 weeks and three days - before the abortion cut-off, giving birth to Autumn Grace and Peyton Rose in May 2019.

She claims her girls were breathing and showing signs of life, and she pleaded with medics at Medway Maritime Hospital to intervene.

But they didn't because, legally, babies born before 24 weeks are not deemed to be capable of surviving and are likely to be extremely disabled if they do. They died hours later.

The NHS does not recommend a cervical stitch for mothers-to-be who are carrying twins or triplets.

Leading gynaecologists say there is no evidence the procedure will prevent an early labour in women with multiple pregnancies.  

However, Miss Offord feels 'let down' by the NHS and believes she was discriminated against because of her age.  

Miss Offord, who is unemployed, said: 'It's been horrendous. I feel I was pied off because it was my first pregnancy and I'm young.

'I feel let down by the NHS. If a stitch had been fitted around the 13-week mark than we wouldn't be having this conversation.'

Miss Offord, whose cervix was 2.5cm short, added: 'If they are born breathing they should be helped. It's a basic human right.'

Miss Offord, from Chatham, Kent, went into labour at 22 weeks and three days, giving birth to Autumn Grace and Peyton Rose in May 2019. Pictured, the clothes she bought for them

Miss Offord, from Chatham, Kent, went into labour at 22 weeks and three days, giving birth to Autumn Grace and Peyton Rose in May 2019. Pictured, the clothes she bought for them

She claims to have asked for a cervical stitch to be fitted - but was told it was 'old fashioned' and wouldn't be effective.

Babies born between 23-24 weeks are a 'a major medical and ethical challenge', the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says.

Writing in a scientific paper in 2014, the body went on to state that at 'at 22 weeks of gestation there is no hope of survival'.

Generally, babies are considered 'viable' only over 24 weeks of pregnancy, meaning there is possibility for them to survive being born at this stage, the NHS says. 

Premature birth is the largest cause of neonatal mortality in the US and the UK, data shows. Many babies born too early aren't ready for life outside the womb. 

Despite this, Miss Offord believes that as her baby's were showing signs of life when they were born, they should have been offered helped by medics.

Miss Offord claims her 13 week scan showed her cervix was dangerously short, which puts her babies at risk of being born too early. But she wasn't offered a cervical stitch

Miss Offord claims her 13 week scan showed her cervix was dangerously short, which puts her babies at risk of being born too early. But she wasn't offered a cervical stitch

Miss Offord claims her girls were breathing and showing signs of life, and she pleaded with medics to intervene. They didn't because babies are only deemed viable at 24 weeks

Miss Offord claims her girls were breathing and showing signs of life, and she pleaded with medics to intervene. They didn't because babies are only deemed viable at 24 weeks

Miss Offord, pictured during pregnancy, feels 'let down' by the NHS and believes she was discriminated against because of her age

Miss Offord, pictured during pregnancy, feels 'let down' by the NHS and believes she was discriminated against because of her age

She said: 'The moment I was handed them was very surreal, I didn't feel like it was happening to me.

'They came out perfectly. They were both born breathing and I could see them moving about. 

'I pleaded with the doctors to help them. They said they couldn't do anything and if they had a chance of surviving they would be severely disabled.

'It annoys me that they couldn't attempt to help them even if they were born breathing. The fact they were born breathing shows they had viability.

'If someone is 90 and goes into hospital and passes out but is still breathing they'll be resuscitated. Why shouldn't a baby?'

Miss Offord believes it should be the parents' choice, not up to doctors, to try and save a premature baby. 

She said: 'At the end of the day if a baby is born breathing the doctors still need to have a duty of care.

'If the parents turns around and says "don't intervene" that's fine.

'But I wanted them to try and save my children and at the end of the day as a parent I should have the right to decide if I want my child helped or not.' 

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Miss Offord also claims part of her baby's placenta was left inside

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