Why do we need this research?
Different hospitals have different standards of care for women who have had a miscarriage. For many couples, the cause of miscarriage will only be investigated after they have suffered three losses. This can cause unimaginable and unnecessary pain.
Tommy’s wants this to change. We want to standardise care so that everyone receives the best possible support, no matter where they live. Instead of simply counting how many babies a woman has lost, we want an approach that will take many different risks into account. That way, we can say how likely it is that a woman will miscarry in the future and try to stop it from happening.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are building Tommy’s Net, a database that holds pregnancy and outcomes information for many women treated at different hospitals and clinics, as well as current medical records from GP surgeries and details of subsequent pregnancies. Tommy’s Net will also store information from lots of different clinical trials, including those funded by Tommy’s. This will bring together a vast amount of data from different places to help researchers find out more about the women who are most at risk of miscarriage.
So far, the team have collected data from over 1,300 women and 1,000 male partners who attended recurrent miscarriage clinics at hospitals in Coventry, Birmingham and London, which form the National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Our researchers found that around 7 in 10 of these women went on to have a live birth. Interestingly, the team found that some women attending the clinics struggled to conceive, and they now want to find out whether there are any characteristics – such as smoking, anxiety and reduced ovarian reserves – that make this more likely so that these women can get help with fertility as early as possible.
The team also plan on using Tommy’s Net to explore the link between recurrent miscarriage and premature birth. The risk of premature birth increases with each subsequent miscarriage, and the researchers want to find out whether it is possible to predict which women are likely to go into labour early so that they can receive the best possible care.
What difference will this project make?
Tommy’s Net will help hospitals work together much more efficiently to give the people they look after the best possible care. As an example, our researchers hope to find out which of the different tests that are currently being used are the best at predicting the chances of a woman having another miscarriage. Scientists will also be able to use Tommy’s Net to share data for research, helping them to study miscarriage more effectively. The project will ultimately help to improve care for people affected by miscarriage and find new ways to predict and prevent it in the future.
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.