Flo Health, the creator of Flo, the world’s leading period and ovulation tracker, and the most downloaded health app in AppStore in 20201, announced the introduction of their Pregnancy Loss Policy for all employees, as a complementing part of the company’s world-class parental leave policies rolled out earlier this Spring.
Announced on the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Flo’s Pregnancy Loss Policy aims to support colleagues through the bereavement and grief of a pregnancy loss, whether it happens directly to them, their partner, or their baby’s surrogate mother, regardless of the nature of the loss, and whatever their length of service.
In the UK, the NHS2 mentions that, among women who are aware they’re pregnant, an estimated 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. That’s 12.5% of known pregnancies, with the actual number of miscarriages being higher, as many women who have an early miscarriage often don’t realise they had been pregnant.
A recent study3 by Imperial College London and KU Leuven, which was the largest ever to focus on researching the psychological impact of early-stage pregnancy loss, has shown that 1 in 6 women who have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy experience long-term post-traumatic stress.
The reality beyond the numbers is that we often don’t know that our friend or colleague is going through this experience, as it is not an easy topic to discuss. However, it’s important to be aware that, no matter the nature of the loss and the moment when it happens, its effects can be profound, making it difficult to handle personal and professional life aspects during this period of grief.
“Pregnancy loss can be an incredibly painful and traumatic event that has a lasting physical, mental and emotional impact on those experiencing it, and their families. Although the number of women experiencing miscarriages is significant, still too few receive the support they need in the workplace”, said Ann Roberts, Chief People Officer at Flo. “Expanding Flo’s parental leave policies by adding the Pregnancy Loss Policy, we are doing our bit to further support our employees, while also hoping this contributes to broadening the general conversation about women’s health in the workplace”.
Flo’s Pregnancy Loss Policy ensures that employees who benefit from it are provided with:
- Two weeks of leave on full pay. Employees can self-certify without the need for a doctor’s note.
- Paid time off to attend appointments (or to accompany their partners) relating to pregnancy loss, including but not limited to medical examinations, scans and tests, and mental health-related appointments.
- Flexible work, wherever possible. These working arrangements could include a phased return to work, more breaks and time away from the computer, or reducing working hours on a temporary basis.
“Empowering women all over the world, to improve their health and wellbeing, is the core value that sits at Flo’s DNA. As we aim to help our users put themselves first, we believe it is essential to put this into action by starting within the company”, said Dr. Claudia Pastides, Medical Advisor at Flo. “Flo is deeply committed to breaking the stigma and taboos that too often surround women’s health, and pregnancy loss is definitely one of the issues worth our closest attention, as it can deeply affect the health and wellbeing of anyone who faces it”.
With 21% Flo users having self-reported a miscarriage after switching to Get Pregnant mode, Flo is taking it even further. As part of Flo Health’s strategic partnership with the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (EBCOG), a range of materials on pregnancy loss have been released inside the app. These articles are designed to give Flo users science-backed information about the nature of pregnancy loss, help them recover after it, and empower them not to give up. Also, more special topics have been added to the app’s Secret Chats section, an anonymous community with more than 10M contributors, where users get the support they need on a variety of topics of interest, and the opportunity to share their own experience and thoughts.