Six out of 100 babies in the UK are born prematurely, before the 37 week of pregnancy. Babies may be born early because a women goes into labour spontaneously. But sometimes babies need to be born early because they are having problems in the womb, such as poor growth for example. Improvements in the care of newborns mean that most premature babies survive and grow up normally despite being born so early. However some babies have long term health problems as a result of being born premature.
Our understanding of premature birth is limited and that is why more research is vital. We research why some women go into labour early by studying the role of infection, the response to infection and the natural antibiotics in the vagina. We are developing therapies that could reduce a woman’s risk of going into premature labour. We are testing out new treatments to help babies grow in the womb.
Your donation will help to support our current research programme, which is:
- Developing tests to improve prediction of premature births (£50 per sample)
- Analysing the levels of bacteria in urine (£75 per sample)
- Examining immune blood cells in women who have their baby premature (£150 per sample)
- Developing new drug and stem cell treatments that could heal the amniotic membrane when it ruptures early (£200 per sample)
- Testing the response of the amniotic membrane to repetitive stretching to find out why they rupture early in some women (£500 per sample)
- Testing new drugs to help small babies grow better in the womb (£1000 per experiment)
Each of these studies involves carrying out tests on 50 to 100 women.
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“I was referred to the preterm birth clinic at UCLH after I suffered a late miscarriage at 25 weeks. I was seen between 18 and 28 weeks. Every two weeks I was screened and tested and fortunately was ok although my cervix length was just over 10mm! My first daughter was born on time. However with my second daughter I attended the clinic again and everything seemed normal until a regular appointment showed that my cervix had opened and my membranes were bulging through! The clinic acted so quickly to get me admitted to hospital and gave me steroids, for the baby’s lungs if I delivered. I am overwhelmed at what this clinic means to me and my family and the lives of my daughters!
Thanks Anna and Team!”