Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth Clinic in Edinburgh is an antenatal clinic for women who are at a higher risk of having a preterm birth (before they have reached week 37 of their pregnancy) or late miscarriage. This clinic is the only specialist service of its type in Scotland and opened its doors in 2016.
At the clinic, a team of specialist midwives and consultants create individualised care pathways for women to monitor their baby’s progress and ensure a safe pregnancy.
Charley from Edinburgh knew that pregnancy might be difficult for her as she’d undergone 3 procedures to remove abnormal cells from her cervix. When she became pregnant in 2019, she was referred to Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth Clinic With access to specialist care and monitoring, Charley’s pregnancy progressed, and baby Tommy was born in May 2019.
“The staff at the clinic were beyond amazing. They explained things to me in a way that kept me calm. They took their time with me and, for the first time in my pregnancy, I felt like I was getting the support I needed. When my little boy was born, I named him Tommy because, quite frankly, he wouldn’t be here without Tommy’s. I’m so grateful to the team at Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth Clinic”
What happens at the clinic?
At your first visit, the team will look at your family, medical and pregnancy history. At this point, they may also conduct some additional tests. Your first appointment may take up to 1 hour, but future appointments will be around 30 minutes in length. All patients will have an individualised care plan because not all treatments are appropriate or effective for all people.
The Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth offers:
- Patient-centred antenatal care and support
- Transvaginal cervical length screening
- Screening for infection
- Management of a short cervix (cervical cerclage, progesterone,)
- Postnatal follow up following spontaneous preterm birth
- Preconception counselling for women at highest risk
- Participation in research studies and clinical trials of new treatments
The team often sees women every 2-4 weeks between 16-24 weeks of pregnancy. Once your pregnancy reaches 24 weeks gestation, you may be discharged from the preterm birth clinic to the care of your midwife or obstetrician. Depending on individual circumstances, the clinic may continue to monitor you beyond 24 weeks at the preterm birth clinic.
It’s recommended that you maintain contact with your community midwife even if you are attending the preterm birth clinic at the hospital for most of your appointments in early pregnancy. You should make an appointment with your community midwife at 16 and 22 weeks. This ensures you get to know the community midwifery team as they will care for you and your baby for the remainder of the pregnancy.
The clinic cares for women who have one or more of the following risk factors for preterm birth:
- Previous spontaneous preterm birth <34 weeks gestation or preterm prelabour
- Rupture of membranes <34 weeks gestation in previous pregnancy
- One or more spontaneous mid-trimester loss (16-24 weeks) in previous pregnancy
- Short cervix on routine ultrasound (< 25mm)
- Previous cervical stitch/cerclage
- Pre-pregnancy stitch/cerclage
- Two or more LLETZ treatments
- Knife cone biopsy to cervix
- Trachelectomy for carcinoma of cervix
- Uterine abnormality
The clinic runs every Tuesday morning 9:00-12:30pm at The Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health Outpatients Department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Referral can be made through your midwife, GP, obstetrician or neonatologist.