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Preterm and Term Birth

Preterm and Term Birth


Despite considerable advances in care over the last 50 years, pregnancy is still associated with relatively high rates of preterm labour, preterm birth, and intrapartum complications in the UK and worldwide.

Our combined clinical and scientific research strategy focuses on understanding in the aetiology and mechanisms and examining new approaches for prediction, prevention and treatment of preterm labour and birth and dysfunctional labour at term. For UK populations, we are interested in how risk factors such as maternal stress, maternal mental health, obesity, ethnicity and maternal age impacts on birth outcomes. Working closely with King’s Health Partners and the NIHR BRC our aim is to deliver new diagnostic tools, novel therapies and clinical management guidelines to improve overall outcomes for pregnant women and their children and promote health throughout the life course.

Our strengths include large multidisciplinary research team that has access to two of the largest and most socially and ethnically varied and complex populations of pregnant women in the UK t. We work with this population to undertake a range of clinical and science based research; spanning the molecular, cellular, physiological, microbiome and metabolome research areas.

We have an excellent track record of developing first trimester screening tools, implementing clinical trials in pregnancy and proven experience in integrating science research goals with clinical need; this is undertaken through our work in the Innovation group. Our research approach is further enhanced by cross-linking with the researchers with an interest in ‘Maternal Health Policy, Systems and Implementation. Collaboration will facilitate rapid evaluation of knowledge transfer, and effectiveness and safety of our research outputs in a monitored health care setting.

Due to links with The Centre for the Developing Brain and Perinatal Imaging we can track babies as neonates and children as well as the mothers. This work is facilitated by access to world renowned first trimester care and preterm birth clinics. We are leading the development of a national preterm birth clinic database, a repository for anonymised clinical information about women at high risk of preterm birth. This will be an extremely valuable research resource for us and other UK researchers. We aim, with funding from the MRC, link with other health data so that we can follow women and their children throughout their lifecourse. As leading members of Preterm Birth Clinical Study group we are also responsible for setting clinical trial strategy in this important UK research area.

As a group we are enthusiastic to hear from researchers around the world who are interested in collaboration and access to our preterm birth biobank resources. We have an excellent track record in providing academic research training and projects for students from around the world and from a range of backgrounds (e.g. biomedical science, medicine, midwifery, medical ultrasound, epidemiology and public health ). We are also keen to attract researchers with skills that can contribute to bioinformatics. Please contact individual group PIs for further information.

 line_blueGroup PIs and Senior Researchers 


Dr Rachel Tribe


Professor Andrew Shennan


Professor Kypros Nicolaides

 Kypros Nicolaides

 Professor Jane Sandall

Mr Paul Seed



Clinical Trials




Investigation into Biomarkers for the Prediction of Spontaneous Preterm Birth.


petraA prospective cohort study of a clinical risk assessment tool and a qualitative exploration of women's experiences of risk assessment and management.


poppylogo60x60pxPrediction of Prematurity in Pregnancy: Saliva Progesterone as a Predictive Marker for Preterm Labour.                                                                         



A study to assess whether quantitative fFN result provides improved predictive value in asymptomatic high risk women.



Stitch, progesterone or pessary: a randomised controlled trial.


Working with... 

perinatal imaging and health
global health
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences –Pharmaceutical Biophysics
pharmbio-224-135 KHP_224x135 copy_vignette NIHR_224x135_vignette

cross-cutting themes

clinical trials
maternal health policy, systems and implementation
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