Why do we need this research?
If we can work out which pregnant women and people are most likely to experience pregnancy complications or poor outcomes such as stillbirth or neonatal death, we can ensure that they receive the best care possible to help them have a healthy baby. Although some risk prediction models already exist, they usually focus on one pregnancy complication instead of assessing the risk of several complications at once. The increased use of digital maternity notes and electronic health records has made it much easier to collect information about lots and lots of pregnancies, meaning it is possible to see patterns that would not have been noticeable in a smaller group of patients. Our researchers want to use this information to create improved risk prediction models for use in pregnancy.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are looking at both local and national electronic health record data and are using it to find out which women and birthing people are most at risk of pregnancy complications or poor outcomes. They will look at characteristics of the mother such as age, weight, medical history and the outcome of any previous pregnancies, as well as ultrasound measurements and the results of any tests taken throughout pregnancy. The team will use all of this information to build risk prediction models for individual pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, having a baby that does not grow as it should or stillbirth, and will also build a model that assesses the risk of multiple different complications at once. The researchers will then test their models on different groups of patients to see how well they work.
What difference will this project make?
Our risk prediction models will help healthcare professionals work out which women and birthing people in their care are most likely to have complicated pregnancies. This should ensure that these high-risk groups receive targeted care, giving them the best possible chance of having a healthy baby.