The ITV soap opera Emmerdale has been portraying an ectopic pregnancy storyline featuring two of its main characters Charity and Mack over the last few weeks. Storylines on primetime shows such as soaps raise vital awareness and start important conversations about ectopic pregnancy and symptoms.
The ectopic pregnancy storyline started where the heartbeat of the baby could be heard during a scan. Ectopic pregnancies are usually diagnosed too early for a heartbeat to be heard as symptoms can occur from early as 4 weeks’ gestation. The majority of ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed at around 6/7 weeks and, at this stage, the heart is not developed enough to be able to hear a heartbeat during a scan. During an early pregnancy scan, doctors/sonographers would not “listen to” the embryo’s heartbeat.
Emmerdale fans will have seen the heartbreaking scenes of the news being shared with the characters Charity Dingle and Mackenzie Boyd. The show went on to cover the rarely talked about emotional impact of an ectopic pregnancy and the different ways that a couple may process the ordeal. Emma Atkins who plays Charity recently spoke to the Metro about the aftermath her character and Mack face after their ectopic pregnancy saying: “I think Charity has this default setting when she’s in a lot of pain and emotional. She can sort of switch off and compartmentalise. She figures that’s the way to deal with it, almost by not dealing with it. Mackenzie very much wants to discuss it and potentially start talking about moving on and trying again, which is far from Charity’s thoughts.”.
It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel after an ectopic pregnancy and that each individual/couple may navigate their journey in different ways and have varying questions about recovery, both physically and emotionally, and the possible impacts on future fertility.
We would like to thank Emmerdale, and actors Emma Atkins and Lawrence Robb, for what has already been a powerful portrayal of how a couple may navigate an ectopic pregnancy diagnosis and treatment.
Our support services are available to anyone affected by ectopic pregnancy and can be accessed individually or as a couple.