Why do we need this research?
It is estimated that 2% of women experience two consecutive miscarriages, and approximately 1% suffer from recurrent miscarriage, which is defined as three or more miscarriages in a row. Several factors have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage – including increased age, high BMI and being a smoker – but there are no robust risk prediction models that are currently used in clinical practice.
Better miscarriage care must include better knowledge of risk factors, as well as the development of new tests and treatments. That way, we can say how likely it is that a woman or birthing person will miscarry in the future and try to stop it from happening.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers have been building Tommy’s Net, a database that holds pregnancy and outcomes information about women participating in Tommy’s miscarriage studies, alongside their current medical records and details of subsequent pregnancies. This has brought together a vast amount of data from different places to help researchers find out more about who is most at risk of miscarriage.
So far, the team have collected data from approximately 2,900 women and 2,200 male partners who attended recurrent miscarriage clinics at hospitals in Coventry, Birmingham and London, which form the National Centre for Miscarriage Research. By looking at the first 777 women included in Tommy’s Net, our researchers found that, within two years of their first clinic visit, 6 in 10 of these women went on to have a pregnancy that lasted longer than 24 weeks. The team also found that 1 in 4 of the women referred to a recurrent miscarriage clinic were overweight and that 7% of the women smoked.
Using the information collected so far, our researchers created an online risk calculator – the Miscarriage Support Tool – that was launched in November 2022. This calculator asks women and birthing people who have suffered one or more miscarriage to enter information about themselves and their pregnancy history, before generating personalised advice about how to be healthy for pregnancy, what tests or treatments they may need, and the chances of them having a live birth in the future.
Data from Tommy’s Net is also being used to answer other important research questions. For example, the team want to understand the effect of diet on pregnancy outcomes in women with recurrent miscarriage and also why women who have experienced recurrent miscarriage are more likely to give birth prematurely. Our researchers also hope to collect data from a large number of Black and Asian women so that they can explore why they are more likely to experience complications in pregnancy.
What difference will this project make?
Tommy’s Net enables our scientists to carry out more effective research into the causes and consequences of miscarriage; research that will ultimately improve care and lead to new ways of predicting and preventing miscarriage in the future. In particular, our Miscarriage Support Tool will allow thousands of couples – including those who are generally less likely to seek help – to access advice following a miscarriage, which should empower them to seek NHS help when necessary.
The Tommy's Miscarriage Support tool
Based on data collected from the Tommy’s NET, we have created the Tommy’s Miscarriage Support Tool. If you have miscarried before, you can use the tool to find out the chance of your next pregnancy being successful ((this means going at least to full term, which is 37 weeks).
The tool also gives you personalised support and information based on your results. Find out more about the Miscarriage Support Tool and how it works.
Thanks for your interest in our research
Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.