Action Medical Research

Preterm birth – predicting which women are at risk

The aim of this research is to produce a test which can be used very early in pregnancy to predict which women are at risk of preterm labour.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 10:00 AM, 4 December 2014 to 5:00 PM, 17 December 2014

Registered Charity in England and Wales (208701)

Check mark Match funded

Campaign target


Amount raised





  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Medical ResearchMedical Research




Each year, over 60,000 babies in the UK are born prematurely and nearly 1,400 die as a result of being born too soon. Children who survive being born too early have an increased risk of cerebral palsy, visual impairment, hearing loss and learning difficulties. We do not fully understand what causes a woman to go into ‘normal’ term labour, so it is difficult to predict and stop preterm labour.


The research will compare blood samples taken during early pregnancy to see if different microRNA molecules can be detected in those women who went on to have a preterm baby. If so, it may be possible to use these molecules to predict preterm labour in other women by means of a simple blood test in early pregnancy. If women at risk can be identified, interventions could be used to help prevent preterm birth.