Families of two Barry women with epilepsy who died whilst pregnant search for answers

Report by ITV Wales journalist Katie Fenton

The families of two women from Barry who both died while pregnant after suspected epileptic seizures have come together in a fight for answers.

25-year-old Megan Gardiner and 28-year-old Paige Ellis died within weeks of each other after changes were made to both of their epilepsy medication by the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The health board says an investigation is underway.

The two families were strangers before the summer, but after Megan and Paige died weeks apart under similar circumstances, their desperate search for answers brought them together.

Though the vast majority of women with epilepsy have successful pregnancies, some seizures and medication side-effects can cause complications.

Alison has criticised the hospital over her daughter's treatment.

Megan's mother, Alison Woolcock, was concerned when the hospital made changes to her medication.

"There wasn't enough for me about any discussion about other ways of managing risk, so even if you were looking at reducing the medication, where was the risk management, where was the safety plan that should've been in place, where was the thing of, well actually your seizures may become more predictable, let's have a look at how we can manage that and make sure you're safe and the baby's safe" said Alison.

Megan was 17 weeks pregnant with her unborn son when they died overnight at her home in Barry on June 4.

Charities say women should be made aware of the risks and how they can be reduced, but Alison says it was only after Megan's death that these discussions took place.

"Megan was 25, she had the rest of her life ahead of her, we had an opportunity to be grandparents and all of that's been stolen" says Alison.

It's a feeling that's shared by Paige's loved ones too. Siân Vivian has lost her best friend of 28 years.

Paige Ellis was due to give birth to Harri in October. Credit: Media Wales

"It's destroyed everyone, everyone is broken. She's got a little two-year-old, Dan has just woken up one day and everything that he thought his life was has just suddenly gone, Jax doesn't understand where his mum has gone" says Siân .

Paige died on July 23 at her Barry home following an epileptic seizure in her bed. She was due to give birth to a boy three months later.

Her family says she received a similar change in medication to Megan.

Having safely given birth to her first child Jax, Siân says the family felt it would be no different when it came to Paige's unborn son, Harri.

"We just expect everything to be managed correctly and her to have the right professional help and make sure the risk assessments are done, and yeah I think we just took it for granted and expected her to be in the best care" said Siân.

Both Paige and Megan were in the care of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board who are now investigating the cases. They've said that they cannot comment on individual cases, but has so far not identified any links between the concerns raised by the families.

"Anything that we can do to ensure that any failings are recognised and then improvements are made, this is not about being vindictive, this is about going let's make some change to make sure people are getting the right care," says Alison.