Maternity research 

Research is used to build new knowledge, improve current care and develop new treatments. The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (often referred to as CRN) provide the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS.

All clinical research has to be approved by an independent research ethics committee - the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This safeguards the rights and welfare of research participants as well as making sure that high quality research is carried out. All research is voluntary and participants are free to withdraw at any time.

The Women’s Health department at UCLH are committed to improving outcomes for women and babies by improving care, diagnosis and treatment within obstetrics and gynaecology. A small team of research midwives and nurses work on an extensive portfolio of CRN funded research studies that cover specialised areas including maternity, gynaecology, neonatal care, fertility, genetics, miscarriage, urogynaecology and cancer.

UCLH is a large teaching hospital and has many research projects underway at any one time. Whilst under our care you are likely to be invited to participate in a research project by healthcare professionals. This may be one of our consultants, nurses or midwives.

Alternatively, if you are interested in volunteering for any of our studies or just would like to have some more information please contact us.

In the unlikely event you encounter any problems or have any concerns about any of our research activity, please contact any of the following:


Current research studies

  • MOMENTA Interventional

    Aim

    To measure efficacy and safety of M281 in patients with Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN)

    Recruitment

    Patient with an obstetrical history of severe fetal anemia, hydrops, or stillbirth related to HDFN at ≤24 weeks gestation, have anti-D or anti-Kell IgG alloantibody titers consistent with disease, and be pregnant with an antigen-positive fetus. The study will include approximately 15 eligible patients and their offspring.

  • CRAFT

    Aim

    1. CRAFT-OBS: To assess the risk of preterm birth or late miscarriage in women following an in labour caesarean section
    2. CRAFT-RCT: To assess if cervical cerclage reduces preterm birth in pregnant women with a short cervix following a previous in labour caesarean section
    3. CRAFT-IMG: To assess if alterations in MRI parameters or ultrasound characteristics occurs in women who undergo a late miscarriage or preterm birth following an in labour caesarean section

    Recruitment

    1. CRAFT-OBS: pregnant women with 14+0-23+6 week with previous history of caesarean section in labour
    2. CRAFT-RCT: pregnant women with a previous history of caesarean section carried out at full dilatation and a short cervix (≤25mm) in current pregnancy
    3. CRAFT-IMG: pregnant women with a previous history of caesarean section carried out at full dilatation (30 women with cervix >25mm; 30 CRAFT-RCT participants)
  • TRIP

    Aim:

    Investigate the role of T-regulatory (Treg) cell in maintaining a healthy pregnancy and influencing the development of pre-eclampsia.

    Recruitment:

    All women in their first ongoing pregnancy

  • MOMENTA Observational

    GIFT-Surg

    Aim:

    The primary objective is to characterize the current standard of care, clinical course, and outcomes of pregnant women and their offspring at high risk for early onset severe hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (EOS-HDFN).

    Recruitment:

    Patients who are pregnant to a gestational age (GA) of ≥8 weeks will be screened for inclusion during the current pregnancy. To be eligible for the study, patients must have an obstetrical history of severe fetal anemia, hydrops, or stillbirth related to HDFN, have anti-D or anti-Kell immunoglobulin G (IgG) alloantibody titers consistent with disease, and be currently pregnant with an antigen-positive fetus.

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  • Gift-Surg – Fetal USS

    GIFT-Surg

    Aim:

    This is a cohort observational study to develop novel imaging approaches to optimise imaging of different fetal structures and pregnancy tissue such as placenta, to gain additional information on the diagnostic and prognostic ability of ultrasound imaging and CCTG at different gestational ages & to gain additional information of the natural history of uncomplicated and complicated pregnancies.

    Recruitment:

    Women who have ultrasound imaging or CCTG monitoring at UCLH Integrated Antenatal Service will be eligible to be invited to participate. This includes women with low-risk pregnancies, and those with a pregnancy complication, for example, a congenital abnormality or preeclampsia.

  • SuPPoRT

    SuPPoRT

    Aim:

    To compare three treatments which have all been shown to reduce risk of premature birth in such women:

    1. Cervical stitch or ‘cerclage’ (a minor operative procedure performed by an obstetrician)
    2. Vaginal progesterone (inserted yourself everyday which secretes the hormone progesterone)
    3. Arabin pessary (a silicon device inserted by the obstetrician which provides structural support for the cervix)

    Each treatment has been shown to have roughly equal effect in reducing preterm birth, but we do not know which is best.

    Recruitment:

    Women at greater risk of preterm birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) with a short cervix.

  • TTTS

    C-STITCH

    Aim:

    • Establishing a registry of all UK twin pregnancies complicated by Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) to answer uncertainties regarding the treatment and management.

    Recruitment:

    • All complicated multiple pregnancies, uncomplicated monochorionic twin pregnancies, Triplet pregnancies and any multiple pregnancy (twin or triplet) complicated by TTTS.
  • C-STICH2

    C-STITCH

    Aim:

    • To determine if an emergency cervical cerclage reduces pregnancy loss in women who present with cervical dilatation sufficient to allow exposure of the unruptured, fetal membranes between 16+0 and 27+6 weeks.

    Recruitment:

    • Pregnant women presenting between 16+0 and 27+6 weeks, with premature cervical dilatation and exposed, unruptured fetal membranes will be invited to take part.
  • VMET2

    C-STITCH

    Aim

    • To understand the means by which vaginal bacteria are involved in preterm birth.

    Recruitment

    • Uncomplicated pregnant women, women at risk of pre-term labour, women who present with threatened pre-term labour and women up to 37 weeks gestation who present with ruptured membranes and are not in labour.
  • Stakeholder views of Rapid genomic sequencing

    Aim

    • A qualitative study to explore the views and experiences of families and health professionals of Rapid genomic sequencing

    Recruitment

    • Parents of children who have been offered rapid genetic diagnosis using whole genome sequencing
  • Fetal surgery interview study: Parental perceptions of Fetal Surgery

    C-STITCH

    Aim

    • Qualitative in-depth interviews with women and their partners concerning the acceptability of fetal surgery as part of the GIFT-Surg Programme.

    Recruitment

    • Women with a singleton pregnancy that are eligible for fetal surgical intervention.
  • The Cleft Collective

    C-STITCH

    Aim

    • To create an adequately powered, detailed observational resource for the study of the environmental and genetic determinants of cleft lip/ palate, and the outcomes for patients and families affected by cleft lip/ palate

    Recruitment

    • All children diagnosed (antenatally or postnatally) with a cleft and their families will be eligible to participate.
  • EnCircle

    Aim:

    Investigate whether the insertion of an emergency cerclage will prolong the pregnancy in twin pregnancies in each of the two study groups.

    Recruitment:

    Two groups are eligible to take part in the study:

    • Twin pregnancies between 14-26 weeks presenting with an open cervix
    • Monochromic twin pregnancies complicated by twin-to-twin transfusion (TTTS) treated by laser surgery between 16+0 and 26+0 weeks in whom a short cervix (<15mm) is identified
  • Amniotic fluid, placental and stem cells study

    Aim:

    To find out whether it is possible to grow stem cells from amniotic fluid, placental tissue and fetal fluid, and whether proteins found in the fluid can be used to indicate long term outcome for problems such as kidney disease.

    Recruitment:

    Two groups of women are eligible to take part in this study:

    1. women having amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), fetal blood or urine sampling for prenatal diagnosis are eligible to participate in the study.
    2. women attending UCLH to give birth to their baby.
  • C-STICH

    C-STITCH

    Aim:

    To determine which of two threads is best for women that are recommended to have a cervical suture to prevent preterm birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

    Recruitment:

    Women recommended to have a cervical suture during pregnancy to prevent premature birth.

    For more information visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mds/trials/bctu/trials/womens/C-Stich/about.aspx

  • EVERREST

    EVERREST

    Aim:

    To collect a detailed database of information about what happens to mothers and babies affected by early onset fetal growth restriction, which is a pregnancy condition where babies in the womb fail to grow as well as they should. Affected babies are small and may be born very prematurely, causing problems during childhood and later on in life. We hope to gain understanding about the prognosis, and help develop future treatments.

    Recruitment:

    Pregnant woman affected by early onset fetal growth restriction.

    For more information visit: http://everrest-fp7.eu/

  • GIFT-Surg

    GIFT-Surg

    Aim:

    To improve the quality of imaging from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ultrasound and use these to develop low risk techniques for diagnosis, treatment and therapy for a range of dangerous conditions of the baby during pregnancy.

    Recruitment:

    Pregnant women recommended to have a fetal MRI due to fetal abnormality or pregnancy complications.

    For more information visit: http://www.gift-surg.ac.uk/

  • PETRA

    PETRA

    Aim:

    To improve the management and experience of women with threatened preterm labour (TPTL) by ensuring appropriate care is offered to those most at risk while reducing unnecessary intervention.

    Recruitment:

    Women between 23 and 35 weeks pregnant who have developed symptoms of early labour.

  • RAPID

    RAPID

    Aim:

    To look at new methods of detecting problems in pregnancy, in the hope of developing earlier and safer ways of identifying genetic conditions. Research has shown that a pregnant mother has some of her baby’s DNA and other substances in her own blood, so a simple blood sample from the mother can help us to detect any genetic conditions or chromosomal problems in the unborn baby.

    Recruitment:

    Women with normal and complicated pregnancies are asked to donate a blood sample of 20-30mls. In addition to this, where it is possible, we are also asking partners to donate about 10mls of their blood, so we can better define the baby’s DNA from the mother’s.

    For more information visit: http://www.rapid.nhs.uk/

  • Women's Health Research PRES Data Report

  • View results

    Participants of research studies within the Women’s Health department at UCLH were asked to take part in the Patient Research Experience Survey (PRES), as a part of the wider NIHR patient satisfaction project. Results of this survey are detailed in this report.