Start: March 2019
End: September 2021
Why do we need this research?
Every day in the UK, nine babies are stillborn – we think this is unacceptable. Tommy’s is working to find new ways to prevent stillbirth from happening. However, it is difficult for researchers to carry out clinical trials to reduce the risk of stillbirth, because such trials would need hundreds of thousands of women to participate. We need to develop new ways to work out how best to prevent stillbirth.
What’s happening in this project?
Instead of setting up brand new trials to investigate how to reduce risk of stillbirth, researchers funded by Tommy’s are looking back at older studies. By gathering data from lots of these studies and combining it, they can try to address some of the questions which haven’t yet been answered.
So far, the researchers have studied the relationship between problems with the umbilical cord and stillbirth. Searching through thousands of research articles, they identified 155 studies to combine and analyse. They found that the risk of stillbirth is increased by multiple loops of the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck, but not with only one loop. They also found that knots or twisting of the umbilical cord also increase risk of stillbirth.
The research team are now carrying out a similar analysis of studies into reduced fetal movements.
What difference will this project make?
By combining the data from many older studies into one analysis, our researchers are revealing brand new findings which could not have been noticed in individual studies. They hope that their work can contribute towards treatment guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, advising healthcare teams on how best to reduce the risk of stillbirth.
More research projects
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.