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February 28, 2022

Tommy’s researchers develop new tool to reduce pregnancy loss

The tool compares different risk factors and data to help create a personalised maternity care plan.

Researchers at Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement have developed a new screening technology that helps reduce loss of pregnancy for Black, Asian and ethnic minority women by 60%.

According to Tommy’s, most women in the UK from an ethnic minority background are at a higher risk of stillbirth and pregnancy loss compared to white women.

The new digital tool helps accurately screen the potential risks of pregnancy complications to address the racial inequalities in maternity care.

The tool works on an individual basis and compares different risk factors and data with each other.

The results obtained from the tool can be used to create a personalised maternity care plan based on the risks identified.

This helps improve health outcomes for both mothers and babies.

Using standard screening, researchers found inequalities in pregnancy outcomes for women from ethnic minority backgrounds in a study of more than 20,000 pregnant women.

While using the new screening tool, the racial disparity was equalised and the number of stillbirths and pregnancy losses was reduced by 60%.

Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement clinical director professor Basky Thilaganathan said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see that changing from the standard pregnancy risk factor checklists to our new approach can directly address and almost eliminate a large source of the healthcare inequality facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic pregnant women.

“The current maternal risk-factor screening programme is limited and can contribute to ongoing racial inequalities – but our algorithm can account for these deficiencies, enabling us to truly personalise care rather than treating large groups in the same way, and ultimately improve pregnancy outcomes.”

The organisation stated that the new tool is currently being piloted at three sites in the UK.

The researchers plan to use the additional data to assess the tool and address any issues that could occur when it is launched on a national scale.

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