When a baby dies or is born too soon, it leaves their parents with so many questions and emotions.
Sadly, many of these questions will go unanswered as medical science has not yet found out why some babies make it and some do not, why some babies are born early and why some make it to full term.
‘We were told I was having a miscarriage. I couldn’t believe it. Not again - why us? Why is this happening? I want this baby so much.’Claire Burdett. Claire went on to be treated by Professor Siobhan Quenby at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research.
We believe in challenging the stigma surrounding baby loss.
Losing a baby is not just ‘one of those things’ or ‘nature’s way’. Parents should be able to go through pregnancy without fear, and expect to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
When a baby does die, parents should be able to feel free of shame and guilt, and process what has happened in whatever way they feel comfortable. That is why we continually encourage parents to break the silence surrounding baby loss, and come together to talk, care for and support each other. The taboo must be broken so that parents can seek any support they may need.
We believe that every woman should have access to clear, informative and accurate pregnancy advice.
No woman should have to worry or store-up questions between her medical appointments, or cope with pregnancy after previous loss alone. Our midwives are always on hand to advise, chat and listen.
We believe that we can and must prevent miscarriage so that women and their families do not needlessly suffer.
Miscarriage is common and devastating for couples in the UK and worldwide. Clinically and scientifically, new discoveries are giving vital clues to tackle the issue, but these discoveries were scattered and have little impact or continuation.
By bringing together expert scientists and researchers in the field of miscarriage research, we are generating effort towards understanding early miscarriage.
Recent research has found links between early miscarriage and post-traumatic stress disorder. We are committed to improving aftercare for women who miscarry and ensuring appropriate attention is given to ensuring women’s mental wellbeing after loss, and in future pregnancies.
‘The message is clear; in a civilised society, it is not acceptable for women to suffer in this way. Following this study there must now be added impetus to change in miscarriage treatment and care; many women need more support following a miscarriage and the NHS needs to rethink how women are treated throughout the experience so they do not suffer from PTSD and other psychological impacts.’ Tommy’s CEO, Jane Brewin
The UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in Europe. This is unacceptable and has to change.
In 2016, the UK was 24th out of 49 high-income countries . Nine babies are stillborn every day, causing devastation for mum, dad and the whole family .
‘I feel different to the person I was just last year, as having Orla has changed me irrevocably from the woman I was once…I can’t speak of milestones that have been met or new stages reached in development. But I still have the innate need to parent. It is a natural urge that doesn’t go away even when your child isn’t able to come home with you.’ Michelle Tolfrey, Mother of baby Orla born sleeping May 3rd 2016. Author of blog Dear Orla and Tommy’s Mum’s Voice Award Winner 2017
Despite this, there are low levels of awareness around stillbirth and low levels of funding, which is reflected in the output of national research relating to stillbirth.
We have reduced the stillbirth rate in the Manchester region surrounding our Stillbirth Centre by 34% since it’s opening in 2010 . But we will not stop until critical pathways of care are rolled out across the country and those nine babies a day are born healthy, alive and well.
We believe in reducing premature birth; the leading cause of neonatal death in the UK.
Around 60,000 babies in the UK are born too soon every year .
60,000 babies is enough to fill 280 primary schools. This is simply too high.
Babies born early have an increased risk of suffering lifelong health and developmental problems. Premature birth has been linked to disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy and long term visual and hearing impairments.
Tommy's believes every baby deserves the best start in life.
We are committed to funding medical research into premature birth and providing comprehensive information to help more mums and dads have a healthy pregnancy and birth. Our specialist Preterm Surveillance Clinic at our St Thomas’ Centre cares for women at risk of premature birth.
‘The fact that Priya survived pregnancy past viability is purely down to Professor Shennan and his team at Tommy’s Preterm Surveillance Clinic; their knowledge means they can correctly identify risk factors and offer treatments that many hospitals, including my local hospital, can't. Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the clinic, I just hope that one day the care given at these clinics becomes a national standard, so that more women like me can have a positive ending, and more importantly bring our babies home.’ Catherine Jayaram, previous patient of Tommy’s Preterm Surveillance Clinic
We fund pioneering research to reduce the number of early births in the UK and provide the best care for women who experience it.
1 in every 225 births ends in a stillbirth in the UK. That's 9 babies every day.
A preterm birth is one that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Globally, more than 1 in 10 pregnancies will end in preterm birth.
Statistics about early miscarriage, late miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
1. Flenady V, Wojcieszek AM, Middleton P (2016) Stillbirths: recall to action in high-income countries, The Lancet 2016;387(10019):691–702 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26794070
2. ONS, Vital statistics: population and health reference tables 2017, Office of National Statistics, London, England, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigrati...
3. Tommy's Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester, Stillbirth Impact Report 2017, https://www.tommys.org/sites/default/files/Stillbirth%20Impact%20report_...
4. World Health Organisation, Country data and rankings for preterm birth 2012, http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/news/2012/201204_borntoosoon_countryranki...Hide details