Project to study the vessels of the placenta to prevent stillbirth

We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with Tommy’s to help prevent stillbirths. The research, which will study the vessels of the placenta, has the potential to shed light on the causes of stillbirths and provide grieving families with the answers they so deserve. We’ll be contributing to the project by funding the work of Professor Alexander Heazell.

The key points about this project are:

  • It’s a study 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 ones.
  • But not enough is known about why this happens – which this research will seek to address, eventually enabling medical professionals to identify damaged vessels that are not functioning as they should.

Treatments could then be developed to ensure the placenta continuously provides the nutrients that the baby needs, supporting the growth of the baby and preventing stillbirth.

Teddy’s Wish are contributing £30,000 towards the project over three years. More details on the project can be read at Tommy’s here