Why do we need this research?
In the UK, one in five pregnant women are obese. Although obesity is linked to complications during pregnancy and birth, many obese pregnant women have straightforward, uncomplicated births.
In a recent study in the UK, six out of ten obese pregnant women with no medical or pregnancy problems gave birth vaginally without complication or intervention. Despite this, many obese women are asked to give birth in hospital, where they can be cared for by doctors and midwives, just in case something goes wrong.
We think it should be possible to work out which obese but otherwise healthy pregnant women are likely to have uncomplicated pregnancies and vaginal births, so that these women can be given the opportunity to give birth in a midwife-led birth centre.
What’s happening in this project?
To help do this, our researchers are looking at a large nationwide database to see if there are particular characteristics that seem to be linked to uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. The team will then develop a computerised tool that can help health professionals offer personalised choices to the obese pregnant women in their care.
What difference will this project make?
This project could help give obese women peace of mind that they are not likely to have any problems during their pregnancy. It will also help doctors focus specialist care to the women who really need it.
Get our research updates
Tommy’s funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. We can keep you updated on our research news. If you're interested in being kept updated about our research and news from Tommy's, click here.
More research projects
A BBC News investigation has found that some private baby scanning studios are misleading customers by advertising “reassurance” scans that do not diagnose serious conditions and abnormalities.
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.
Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.