Two women standing outside a building

Karen Schlage (left) worked with the design team, clinicians and the Project Lead Katrina Bracher, Executive Director of Women, Youth and Children (right) to help design the new Early Pregnancy Unit.

08 September 2020

Women with complications relating to early pregnancy, including early pregnancy loss, will be able to access care in a new dedicated Early Pregnancy Unit to be built at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

The dedicated facility is important for people like Karen Schlage, who lost her two children just one year apart from each other.

In 2018, Mrs Schlage lost her son Charlie at 15 weeks gestation, and last year her daughter Sophia who passed away at just under 17-weeks gestation.

Adjacent to the antenatal ward, the new three-bed unit will be purpose-built to offer a therapeutic and healing environment staffed by a skilled, multidisciplinary team.

The dedicated facility will support women and families experiencing pregnancy loss at less than 20 weeks’ gestation; offering medical, emotional and psychosocial support in a purpose-built space.

Karen Schlage worked closely with the former Executive Director of Women, Youth and Children, Tina Bracher, to plan the new Early Pregnancy Unit.

Mrs Schlage said she was pleased to help design the new dedicated facility for women and their families for early pregnancy loss in Canberra.

“What we went through when we lost Charlie showed us what needed to change in the system, but our experience losing Sophia showed us what was possible and the sort of care and emotional support that I hope that all women losing a baby will be able to experience,” she said.

The Early Pregnancy Unit is being added under a change of scope to the $50 million Expansion Project already underway at the Centenary Hospital, a change that responds to recommendations of the recently issued Report of the Inquiry into Maternity Services in the ACT.

The addition of a new Early Pregnancy Unit acknowledges the members of the community who took the time to share their very personal experiences of maternity services in the ACT during the inquiry into maternity services process.

Work has already begun on the Early Pregnancy Unit, with its completion scheduled for September 2022.

For more information, visit

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