Why do we need this research?
We still don’t know enough about why some women experience multiple miscarriages. In addition, different hospitals have different standards of care for women who have had a miscarriage. For example, many couples will only be investigated after they have had 3 miscarriages. This system causes unimaginable, and unnecessary, pain for the women affected.
Tommy’s wants this to change. We want to standardise care so that everyone receives the best possible support, no matter where they live. Instead of simply counting how many babies a woman has lost, we want an approach that will take many different risks into account. That way, we can try and say how likely a woman is to miscarry in the future, and if possible, stop it from happening.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are building Tommy’s Net, a database that will help us to collect and store information from hospitals and clinics, as well as access current medical records. This will allow the team to develop new methods to tell which women are at most risk of having a miscarriage.
It will also be a centre that can store information from many different clinical trials, including those funded by Tommy’s. This will bringing together lots of data from large groups of women to help researchers study the causes of miscarriage.
So far, the team have collected data from over 2,200 patients from hospitals in Warwick, Birmingham, and London which form the National Centre for Miscarriage Research. They are linking up Tommy’s Net with records from GP surgeries, to add potentially important information about the care women have received outside of hospital. The team are also setting up systems which will allow patients to contribute information themselves, such as subsequent pregnancies.
What difference will this project make?
Tommy’s Net will help hospitals work together much more efficiently so they can give the people they look after the best care possible. For example, it will enable hospitals to compare how effective the support they give women who experience multiple miscarriages, so that best practise can be shared.
Scientists will also be able to use Tommy’s Net to share data for research, helping us to study miscarriage more effectively. The project will ultimately help to improve care for people affected by miscarriage and find new ways to predict and prevent it in the future.
Thanks for your interest in our research
Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.
More miscarriage 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.