Tommy’s Manchester Research Centre

The Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester is made up of internationally renowned clinicians, scientists and researchers investigating stillbirth and associated pregnancy complications.

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.

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

Research clinics in Manchester

  • A header image with the words 'The Rainbow Clinic'

    The Rainbow Clinic

    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.

  • A header image with the words 'The Placenta Clinic'

    The Placenta Clinic

    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)

    The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS)

    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

    The Lupus in Pregnancy (LIPS) Clinic

    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.

  • Velocity Clinic

    VELOCITY Clinic

    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.

Why our research matters