We investigate how adaptations take place in the human uterus and placenta during pregnancy to enable appropriate growth of the fetus and delivery of the baby during labour. In this way we aim to inform the development of better strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of problem pregnancies, principally those involving preterm birth but also those such as early miscarriage and dysfunctional labour at term.
The rate of preterm birth in the UK is higher now than in the 1970s. ~60,000 UK births each year occur prematurely and North East preterm birth rates are amongst the UK’s highest. 25 premature babies die every week and those babies that do survive have an increased risk of developing debilitating physical and mental ill-health in later life. Our study of events occurring in human pregnancy, therefore, also has important relevance for common complications found later in life including stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
We work closely with the university, NHS, research charities and allied patient groups to distribute information about our research in pregnancy to students, allied professionals and the public. This involves public lectures, radio, newspaper and television interviews for local and national media networks; and contributing to research charity policy documents for submission to Parliament calling for a 10 year national research strategy into preterm birth (Press release with more information).
If you are concerned about aspects of pregnancy you should contact your doctor to discuss it. If you are interested in finding out more about pregnancy complications you are encouraged to view the websites of Action Medical Research and Wellbeing for Women. If you wish to find out more about our research on pregnancy you are encouraged to contact Prof Steve Robson.