Why do we need this research?
Miscarriage is the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK but we still don’t know the best ways of treating or preventing it. There is a lot of research going on around the world, but it can be difficult to compare one research study with another because they often measure different outcomes. For example, one study might look at the number of pregnancies continuing beyond 24 weeks, another might look at the number of miscarriages, while yet another might look at the number of pregnancies that end in a live birth. We need this to change so that we can better identify the treatments that are most likely to prevent miscarriage.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are carrying out a study called COSMisT – the Core Outcome Sets in Miscarriage Trials study. The aim of this study is to define ‘core outcome sets’ that can be used as standard in all miscarriage research studies. In particular, the team want to establish a core outcome set for miscarriage prevention studies, as well as a core outcome set for studies looking at miscarriage management – when treatment is needed to help the baby pass out of the womb.
To do this, our researchers looked back at previous studies to see which outcomes were used and also spoke to women and their partners to find out which outcomes matter most to them. The team next invited 700 people – including women, partners, clinicians, charities and researchers – to take part in a range of surveys to find out which outcomes were preferred, before holding a final meeting, where the two core outcome sets were discussed and voted on. The results of the COSMisT study will be presented soon.
What difference will this project make?
If all research studies into the treatment and prevention of miscarriage included assessment of the same set of outcomes, it would be much easier to compare the results and draw conclusions. By including the COSMisT core outcome set as standard in future miscarriage clinical trials, it will be possible to identify the most effective treatments, therefore improving outcomes for women, birthing people and their families.