Leading research to prevent miscarriage continues

Further funding has been awarded to the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, allowing important research to continue.

Patient and doctor holding hands

Further funding worth £2.5 million has been awarded to the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research by pregnancy and baby loss charity Tommy’s, meaning it's important work can continue until at least 2029.

University of Birmingham will continue to be the lead partner for the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, which is a collaboration between 3 universities and 4 hospitals, making it the largest miscarriage research centre in Europe.

The centre conducts research focused on better understanding the causes of miscarriage; what might put someone at risk of multiple miscarriages; whether and under what circumstances miscarriage can be prevented; as well as how women and birthing people and their families can be supported through the emotional impact of miscarriage.

Since its launch in 2016, the centre has supported a huge number of patients through collaboration with recurrent miscarriage clinics, including recruiting at least 9,000 women from across the UK to take part in clinical trials to improve care or develop treatments to prevent miscarriage.

One such trial, the PRISM study, found that giving progesterone to women with early pregnancy bleeding and a history of miscarriage could prevent up to 8,540 miscarriages a year in the UK. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have since updated their guidelines to recommend progesterone for the prevention of threatened miscarriage.

Further work is ongoing to improve miscarriage care and support for all families across the UK. The centre, in a campaigning partnership with Tommy’s, secured Government support for its new Graded Model of Care, which is designed to make sure people are given appropriate care and support after each miscarriage.

Currently women are only referred for further investigation and support once they have experienced three miscarriages. Under the Graded Model, women would receive increasing levels of support with each miscarriage.

The Graded Model of Care, is currently being piloted, is looking at the benefits and feasibility of providing this care to anyone who has experienced a miscarriage. Women involved in the Graded Model pilot study have already shared positive feedback:

After having two early losses, one a ‘missed miscarriage’, I was distressed and starting to come to terms with the fact I would never have a second child. I wanted to be referred to the recurrent miscarriage clinic to try and figure out ‘what was wrong with me’. What surprised me initially was how calm the Tommy’s clinic was. I was greeted and supported by kind, warm people whose first response wasn’t “you’re too old”. They took the approach of finding out more, of making no promises but not assuming hopelessness either. They gave me resources that gave me some hope that two miscarriages wouldn’t prevent me from having a healthy pregnancy... I am now 19 weeks [pregnant] and still scared but this is getting better with every week that passes and I credit the team with this.”

FW, patient participant in the Graded Model of Care pilot study.

This is one of several studies being conducted through the centre that will be able to continue due to the renewed funding.

“It is fantastic that we have had further funding confirmed as it means we are able to further our important research that aims to save babies lives and to spare couples the heart ache of miscarriage. We will continue to work with our partners at Birmingham Women’s and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, University of Warwick, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to give women and their partners the answers, care and help that they need.”

Professor Arri Coomarasamy, Director of the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, University of Birmingham.

Kath Abrahams, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, said: “When we launched the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research in 2016, we had big ambitions to transform miscarriage care, something which was poorly understood but affects hundreds of thousands of families every year.

“The centre is absolutely delivering on this ambition and we’re delighted to confirm a further five years’ of funding.

“We have shown that miscarriage truly does matter and have improved the experiences of countless women and birthing people and their families. However, there is so much more we can and must do, working together, to spare more families the devastation caused by miscarriage and improve care for all those affected, including those communities currently experiencing the poorest outcomes.

“This new funding will enable the centre to build on the successes already achieved and make more progress, further and faster, towards understanding and preventing miscarriage.”