The POPS Study: Prediction of Adverse Pregnancy Outcome

Teddy’s Wish has provided £15,000 towards research that aims to develop new evidence and identify scanning measurements that could help predict the risk of stillbirth and save more lives.

The number of stillbirths annually recorded in the UK remains too high. We hope that the Prediction of Adverse Pregnancy Outcome study will demonstrate that routine third trimester scans, as well as analysing bloods, can lead to a reduction in loss rates.

More commonly known as the POPS Study, it has already been running for two years. The team behind it have collected data from 4,500 pregnancies, providing evidence that universal scanning does increase the detection of ‘small for gestational’ age babies by nearly threefold.

Their research has also identified specific growth patterns of babies that would be at greater risk of complications.

How will our funding help?

Our funding will allow the team to complete a third year of research to investigate the combined use of ultrasound and blood tests, which will hopefully be used to identify other indicators of potential risk or loss.

This has the potential to make predictions more accurate and lead to a combined test that will identify more at-risk babies and hopefully save more lives.

Why is it needed? 

Sometimes people wrongly think that babies die because they have not developed properly and so could not live. This is not the case for most deaths.

Only one in 10 stillborn babies has a congenital abnormality, sometimes called a birth defect, that means he or she couldn’t live. Many parents would like to have more scans for reassurance about their baby’s wellbeing, especially in the last third of pregnancy.

The research is being led by Professor Gordon Smith, who is head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Smith has presented the preliminary findings at prominent obstetric conferences in the UK, USA, Australia and the ISA conference in Amsterdam. The results were published in the prestigious Lancet medical journal in June 2015.

We are excited to be able to contribute towards this important study. Help us continue funding more research to save lives by getting involved or making a donation.