A pregnant teacher took her own life after a midwife wrongly told her that her medication for acute morning sickness was harming her unborn child, an inquest heard yesterday.
Jessica Cronshaw, 26, was “over the moon” after learning she was expecting her first child with partner Eddie Leck.
But she struggled to eat and was left bedridden by hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute form of morning sickness that the Princess of Wales suffered from during her pregnancies.
“She went from an outgoing, energetic young woman to struggling to lift her head from the pillow at times,” her mother Susan told yesterday’s hearing.
Finally, Ms Cronshaw obtained some relief after being prescribed Xonvea, an anti-vomiting medication.
But during a telephone consultation, she was wrongly told it could harm her baby and she began reducing her dose.
Her condition worsened and, on November 14, 2022, she was found hanging in her bedroom at the family home in Accrington, Lancashire.
Her daughter Elsie was delivered prematurely by caesarean section in hospital in a bid to save her life. But four days later she died at the side of her mother, who was in intensive care.
The following day relatives were told Ms Cronshaw had suffered irreversible brain damage and they agreed to the withdrawal of life support.
She died on November 19. Since the tragic deaths, the family has been campaigning for greater mental health support for women during pregnancy.
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins last week highlighted the tragedy as she announced new support for mothers-to-be across England.
Ms Cronshaw was a “driven, confident and loyal” daughter who “achieved everything she set her heart on”, her mother said in a statement to the hearing.
She said intense nausea during the pregnancy meant she had to take time off from teaching at St Nicholas Primary School in Accrington and ended up confined to bed.
In August she was put on Xonvea which helped but on September 13 Mrs Cronshaw said her daughter was informed by phone that she needed to reduce her dose of the drug due to the risk of “side effects” to her unborn baby.
Mrs Cronshaw said the call had been “a pivotal moment” that would “ultimately lead to the most tragic consequences”. Midwife Allison Whitehead told the hearing she had never heard of Xonvea when Ms Cronshaw rang for a repeat prescription.
She said she “tactfully” passed on the advice about it being potentially harmful after speaking to two doctors. She said she had since read up on Xonvea and accepted that it was not dangerous.
Helen Collier, the obstetrician who prescribed it to Ms Cronshaw after alternatives failed to help, confirmed the drug was safe to use in pregnancy. Dr Collier told the inquest it would have been preferable for a doctor to have spoken to the patient directly.
The hearing in Accrington continues. For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit samaritans.org.
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