Understanding the health of women planning a pregnancy

Dr Sara White, Dr Angela Flynn, Prof Lucilla Poston, Dr Kim Kavanagh, Dr Sarah Barry, Beth McDougall

Data collected from Tommy’s online pregnancy planning tool provides our researchers with a unique opportunity to understand the health of women before they conceive. This could lead to more tailored information to help women have a healthy pregnancy.

Why do we need this research?

A mother’s health during pregnancy plays an important role in the health of their baby. But researchers also suspect that a woman’s health before pregnancy may also affect the child’s health. However, we don’t know enough about the health of women planning to get pregnant. This knowledge would help researchers to provide women with more tailored information, increasing the chances of them having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

What’s happening in this project?

We recently launched our online ‘Planning for Pregnancy’ tool to give women information about how to have a healthy pregnancy. Women are asked to give information about their current health. This information includes things like their age, weight and height, whether they drink alcohol or use drugs, and if they had complications in a previous pregnancy.

Between 25,000 and 40,000 women are using the tool every month. The data collected provides a unique and valuable insight into the health of women planning to get pregnant. Our researchers plan to analyse the data to understand the general health of these women. From this, they will be able to understand the risks faced by different groups of women, and how these risks could potentially be reduced.

What difference will this project make?

This project will help us to better understand the health of women planning a pregnancy. This will enable researchers to design and test new interventions tailored for different groups of women, to give them the best chance of a healthy pregnancy.

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Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. If you're interested in being kept updated about our research and news from Tommy's, click here.

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