Mother refused treatment for unborn baby to save twin

Dwynwen Davies with her daughters Cadi (left) and Martha Mrs Davies, pictured with Cadi and Martha, is campaigning in her daughter's memory

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A mother who refused life-saving treatment for one of her unborn twins in order to save the other is calling for better information on the dangers of slapped cheek syndrome.

Dwynwen Davies, 30, from Lampeter, was offered a blood transfusion to treat her daughter Martha, who had contracted the virus in the womb.

But she refused as the procedure could have killed healthy twin Cadi.

She has now launched a campaign calling for better awareness of the virus.

Mrs Davies caught slapped cheek syndrome from a child at the day nursery she runs.

Children with the infection have a red rash and have flu-like symptoms, but the Parvovirus B19 virus which causes it can lead to severe anaemia in unborn babies.

Start Quote

... it's so sad that I've lost a baby because of a lack of information and knowledge about the virus.”

End Quote Dwynwen Davies

Doctors told Mrs Davies they could give Martha a blood transfusion in the womb, which may help her recover.

But she decided against the treatment when they warned there was a high risk the procedure could induce early labour putting both babies at risk.

"With doctors's opinion saying that the chances were so high of going into early labour with the treatment, I decided that I couldn't do it."

'Preventable death'

Weeks later doctors told Mrs Davies Martha had died.

She carried both babies until Cadi, now six months old, was born seven weeks later.

"It was horrific. You are holding two babies and one had died and the other had survived," Mrs Davies said.

"I look at Cadi now and I am so incredibly grateful but I think I should have two exactly the same."

Mrs Davies has now launched a petition in Martha's name calling on all health boards in Wales to produce a leaflet to be distributed in doctor's surgeries, schools and nurseries explaining the dangers slapped cheek syndrome.

She also wants immunity tests for the virus to be included in routine blood test given to pregnant women.

"I put it [the campaign] on Facebook and [had] thousands and thousands of comments from people saying that people are aware of slapped cheek but didn't know the severity if you are pregnant," she said.

"I started the Martha appeal to raise awareness because it's so sad that I've lost a baby because of a lack of information and knowledge about the virus."

"Her death could have been prevented. It is vital that people know about it," she added.

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