Opened in 2011, our pioneering research centre in Manchester aims to find solutions to pregnancy problems. The centre focuses on:
- understanding the causes of stillbirth and developing treatments to prevent it
- finding ways to identify which pregnancies are at risk
- working with the NHS to improve antenatal care to help reduce stillbirth rates in the UK.
Our researchers deliver world-class advances in pregnancy research to inform better clinical care, policy and practice. By doing this, we can improve outcomes for mothers, their babies and their families.
The centre has grown to include a network of 5 research clinics. At our clinics, we offer specialist care to women at high risk of pregnancy loss. These women have a chance to take part in clinical studies that improve our understanding of stillbirth, fetal growth restriction, hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. The clinics allow us to translate research breakthroughs into clinical practice.
- The Rainbow Clinic
- Manchester Placenta Clinic
- The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS)
- The Diabetes Clinic (VELOCITY)
- The Lupus in Pregnancy Clinic (LiPS)
Our model is very successful. Since 2010, our research centre has reduced the stillbirth rate in the Greater Manchester area by 32% against a much lower national average rate of reduction.
The placenta and stillbirth
In around half of stillbirths, there is a problem with the placenta – the link between mother and baby. That’s why many of our research studies focus on the placenta. Failure of the placenta means that not enough oxygen and nutrients get to the growing baby and this leaves them at high risk of death. Fetal growth restriction is one of the leading causes of stillbirth.
2019 research highlights
- Having discovered that there are a higher number of large blood vessels in placentas affected by diabetes, we are looking at treatments that can stabilise the process of vessel growth to improve pregnancy outcomes for women and their babies.
- We found that nitrate dietary supplements, such as beetroot juice, significantly lowered high blood pressure in women, a condition associated with pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia.
- We have pioneered nano particle technology, a way to directly deliver drugs to the placenta with no side effects to the mum and baby.
Find a stillbirth research project
Current research projects
Completed research projects
The Rainbow Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. It provides specialist care for women who have suffered a previous stillbirth or neonatal death.
The Manchester Placenta Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic aims to improve the care of pregnant women who have, or are at risk of having, babies with fetal growth restriction.
The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS) is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic supports women who have a high risk of hypertension in pregnancy, by monitoring women closely, giving them extra scans and specialist support.
The Lupus in Pregnancy (LIPS) Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. This specialist antenatal clinic is for pregnant women with Lupus Spectrum disorders and connective tissue disorders.
The Manchester VELOCITY Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic provides multidisciplinary care for women who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Katie and her wife Stacey were delighted when Katie became pregnant after a round of IVF in 2017. At 36 weeks, Katie went into hospital, believing she was in labour and was given the devastating news that their baby’s heart had stopped beating. Their baby Skye was stillborn that evening
Hayley and Martin from West Yorkshire fell pregnant with their first child, Ike, in February 2019. Sadly, their son was stillborn at 26 weeks. Hayley and Martin never found out the cause of Ike’s death, making it even harder to come to terms with their loss. This is their story.
Sharon and her husband Andrew from Manchester lost their son, James, at 29 weeks to stillbirth. Sharon was referred to the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic with her second pregnancy
My experience of baby loss has given me a new definition of self, a new way of seeing, and a new love – one so strong that it made saying hello and goodbye in the same day worth all the pain.