In conjunction with Wellbeing of Women (WoW) we are delighted to announce exciting new research into the possible causes of stillbirth. 

A new grant specifically funding research into stillbirth is included in WoW’s annual research grant round. The research will be funded by Sands Why17? campaign, which asks why are 17 babies stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK? The research will be administered by Wellbeing of Women, and will aim to understand two of the issues that may lead to a baby dying before birth. 

The first project is titled Genetic testing to identify fatal heart rhythm problems in stillborn babies and will be based at UCL, Barts, and Great Ormond Street, under Dr Sudin Thayyil. The main aim of this study is to discover if heart arrhythmias may be the cause of some of the 70% of stillbirths that are currently unexplained. 

The second is titled, Survey of Obstetric Cholestasis in Pregnancy which will be undertaken by Professor Catherine Williamson, Imperial College London, and Dr Marian Knight, University of Oxford. The researchers propose to investigate how many pregnancies affected by severe obstetric cholestasis may end in a baby dying or being born prematurely. OC is a liver disorder that affects approximately 1 in 200 pregnant women in the UK and is associated with increased risks of severe complications for the baby, including stillbirth. The researchers will obtain information on how common the condition is before 20 weeks of pregnancy, and will look at the differences in the way women are treated in the UK.  

Janet Scott, Sands Research Manager: “Wellbeing of Women has long been associated with its excellent quality of research and rigorous peer review process. It was this rigorous and independent approach which led Sands to choose Wellbeing of Women to administer our funds. We strongly believe that this collaboration will bring to light answers surrounding the unacceptably high stillbirth rates in the UK, and be a step towards a solution for the future.”