Why do we need this research?
Half of pregnant women are prescribed drugs during their pregnancy to prevent complications. However, we don’t know enough about the long-term effects of many of these medicines for mother and baby. We need to understand more about how medicines should be given during pregnancy to safeguard the health of babies.
What’s happening in this project?
Researchers supported by Tommy’s are involved in a research collaboration called Co_OPT, which is bringing scientists together to study the long-term effects of medicines taken during pregnancy.
The Co_OPT collaboration will first focus on corticosteroids, drugs which are given to women at risk of preterm labour to help their baby’s lungs develop properly. Corticosteroids need to be given seven days before birth for them to work properly, but we don’t know enough about the consequences of the drugs being given too early or too late.
Our researchers will work with scientists from across the world to gather data from previous studies of corticosteroids. These trials combined have information relating to 1.5 million women and their children – a huge amount of valuable data to study. The team will re-analyse the data to understand the benefits and risks of corticosteroid treatments in pregnant women.
What difference will this project make?
This research project will help to answer questions about the safety and long-term effects of using corticosteroids to treat babies at risk of premature birth. The Co_OPT collaboration will then move on to investigate other medicines in the future. Ultimately, this international project will help doctors maximise the health and wellbeing of both mother and baby.
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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.
More research projects
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.
Although recruitment to some clinical trials had to be paused when coronavirus hit the UK, scientists at Tommy’s Research Centres across the UK are still hard at work, supporting women and families in our specialist clinics and sharing their latest studies with academic journals.
The day before Mother’s Day, and two days before the UK officially went into coronavirus lockdown, Zara Dawson found out she was having a miscarriage. Her third consecutive miscarriage in less than a year, and fourth consecutive loss, after losing her second son Jesse in 2018 to termination for medical reasons.