Penicuik woman who fell pregnant while using birth control shocked to discover coil in baby’s placenta
A mum was shocked to discover her contraceptive coil in her baby's placenta when she fell pregnant and gave birth while using birth control.
Claire Cowen, 34, had been using a non-hormonal coil for three years when she discovered she was 13 weeks pregnant with her little boy, Lewis, now 15 months.
The mum-of-three was told that the coil was sitting tilted above her cervix and doctors couldn't remove it in case it accidently ruptured the baby's amniotic sac.
Claire was closely monitored during her pregnancy but doctors couldn't guarantee her baby would survive if the coil worked its way into the sac - all she could do was 'wait and see'.
After a stressful nine months, Claire and husband, David, 38, a courier, were delighted to welcome their little boy at 39 weeks in November 2019, at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, weighing a healthy 6lb 3oz.
To the couple's shock after their little boy arrived so did Claire's contraceptive coil - which had become embedded in her placenta.
Claire, a social worker, from Penicuik, said: "It was the most stressful, scary few months of my life.
"We had no idea how it would go or if my little boy would survive.
"All the stories I could find were about women losing babies when they fell pregnant with the coil.
"It didn't fill me with hope but I remained positive and Lewis arrived safely - he's my little miracle."
Claire already had two children - Craig, 16, and Lucy, six, - with David and had been using a coil as contraception for three years.
The mum had still been experiencing periods but when they stopped suddenly in March 2019, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
To her shock, it came back positive, and a doctors appointment confirmed she was 13 weeks pregnant.
She said: "I couldn't believe it, I knew there was a tiny chance of falling pregnant but you never think it will happen.
"I was sent to pregnancy support and offered an abortion but the baby was healthy so I wasn't keen on the idea.
"We didn't plan to have more children but we were excited when we found out.
"However I didn't realise there could be complications because of the coil."
Claire discovered that the coil was at the top of her cervix and the baby's amniotic sac was sitting just above it.
Doctors at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary warned the expectant parents that removing the coil ran the risk of rupturing the sac - so they left it there.
They also had no way of knowing if it could work its way in there organically so Claire was closely monitored throughout her pregnancy.
She said: "It wreaked havoc with my nerves and my anxiety was through the roof.
"I went in for scans every four weeks to check the baby and make sure it hadn't moved.
"I felt like a bit of a guinea pig because the doctors at the hospital had never cared for a pregnant woman with the coil still in.
"They couldn't give me a guarantee that the baby would survive if the coil moved - it was a waiting game."
At 39 weeks, Claire was induced at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and she gave birth to her little boy Lewis on 26th November 2019.
Despite the odds stacked against him, he arrived safely - weighing healthy 6lb 3oz.
Claire said: "He was absolutely fine which was a relief.
"Straight after he arrived the nurse spotted the coil stuck in the placenta - it was quite a shocking sight."
Since giving birth to Lewis, Claire hasn't had a new coil implanted.
According to the NHS website, Intrauterine devices (IUD) or the 'coil', are more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
She said: "There's a higher risk of miscarriage or premature birth while pregnant with the coil.
"Every story I could find was quite scary and negative - women losing their babies or complications.
"I want to share a positive story to show women it is possible for there to be a happy ending when an unexpected pregnancy happens on the coil.
"I know we were one of the lucky ones but babies can survive and Lewis is doing well.
"It's incredibly scary but babies can survive and we were so lucky with Lewis."