Other Focus Areas
Prematurity is the no. 1 cause of infant death and disability worldwide, in children under 5 years
In the UK, only 50% of babies born at 24 weeks survive
The causes of preterm labour are still unknown
Once preterm labour has started it’s too late, we cannot stop it
Extending pregnancies by even 1 week would save the NHS £265million per year
Rates of preterm birth are rising in the developed world in parallel with other changes in our life-style and environment, alongside an increased risk of cardiac disease in pregnant women. We are studying each area using the same methods to understand the mechanisms involved.
Women choosing to become pregnant are older, more overweight, less mobile and have changed their diet; at the same time birthweight and rates of multiple pregnancy are rising. Independent of this, cardiac disease is becoming more prevalent in the pregnant population and is associated with a greater risk of spontaneous preterm labour. All of these factors may make small but important contributions to the overall rate of preterm birth and may also cause preterm birth through different mechanisms.