In partnership with Tommy’s, this project is looking at the vessels of the placenta and has the potential to shed light on the causes of stillbirths and provide grieving families with the answers they so need and deserve.
Led by Professor Alexander Heazell, this project is focused on the placenta, which is the organ that transports nutrients and oxygen through a complex network of channels to the umbilical cord, and onwards to the baby. A baby is completely dependent on the supply of nutrients from the placenta. When it does not function as it should, women suffer from ‘placental insufficiency’ - accounting for up to 50% of total cases of stillbirth. Placentas from babies that have suffered from fetal growth restriction (when the baby is too small for gestational age, which is a risk factor for stillbirth) have a less elaborate network of vessels than normally grown placentas. But not enough is known about why this happens – and that’s precisely what this research will seek to address, eventually enabling medical professionals to identify damaged vessels that are not functioning as they should.
Teddy’s Wish have contributed £30,000