22 May 2020
A new Government grant will fund Tommy’s PregnancyHub until September 2020 to keep supporting women and taking pressure off the NHS during the pandemic – as well as ensuring these vital support and information services can reach all those in need, especially BAME groups who may be at more risk of serious covid-19 complications.
At the outbreak of the virus, pregnant women were quickly identified as a high-risk group, and antenatal services have adapted to reduce the number of women visiting hospitals where infection risks might be higher. This created higher demand for support from Tommy’s PregnancyHub, with queries to the charity’s NHS trained midwives up 71% last month and hundreds of thousands of people accessing its online coronavirus information.
Tommy’s focuses on the prevention of pregnancy problems by providing information and support that can help women avoid known risks and maximise the chances of a healthy pregnancy. The newly awarded grant will support continued efforts to alert women to worrying pregnancy symptoms and encourage them to seek help from NHS services when needed.
Tommy’s CEO Jane Brewin said: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the unprecedented need for Tommy’s expert support and committed to help keep our vital PregnancyHub services going for the next few months.
“The pandemic understandably creates a lot of anxiety, at a time when maternity services have been changed to prevent the spread of the virus – so Tommy’s PregnancyHub is helping reduce the burden on the NHS by supporting worried parents-to-be, those with high risk pregnancies, and women going through baby loss during this crisis.
“Our work is more important now than ever, and we’re extremely grateful to be facing a less uncertain future thanks to this grant.”
In this Q&A, we sit down and chat with with Tom Willmott, a researcher based at Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre in Manchester. He gives a rare insight into a novel and exciting area of pregnancy health research, known as ‘maternal microbiology’, looking at what we can learn by studying bacteria in the mouths of mums-to-be.
A recently published article, co-authored by Professor Catherine Williamson from Tommy’s Research Centre at King’s College London, suggests that certain pregnancy complications can indicate future health issues for women.
Although recruitment to some clinical trials had to be paused when coronavirus hit the UK, scientists at Tommy’s Research Centres across the UK are still hard at work, supporting women and families in our specialist clinics and sharing their latest studies with academic journals.
The day before Mother’s Day, and two days before the UK officially went into coronavirus lockdown, Zara Dawson found out she was having a miscarriage. Her third consecutive miscarriage in less than a year, and fourth consecutive loss, after losing her second son Jesse in 2018 to termination for medical reasons.