Three-year study to improve healthcare for pregnant women with multiple long-term health conditions

on 23 July 2021

The University of Birmingham is leading a three-year study which aims to improve healthcare for pregnant women with multiple long-term health conditions in the UK.

The study ‘Multimorbidity and pregnancy: determinants, clusters, consequences, and trajectories (MuM-PreDiCT) will use data-driven research to characterise and understand what makes having two or more long-term conditions more likely for pregnant women and the consequences this may have on the mother and baby.

The overall aim of the research is to predict and prevent adverse outcomes.

MuM-PreDiCT will be divided into five research work packages:

  • Examining how health conditions accumulate over time and identify what makes a woman more at risk of developing two or more long-term health conditions before pregnancy
  • Exploring women’s experiences of care during pregnancy, birth and after birth by working with families and health professionals to determine how maternity care could be improved
  • An in-depth examination of having two or more long-term health conditions and how this may affect pregnant women and their children to better identify outcomes, and examine how often women experience pregnancy complications, and explore how frequently women and their children develop additional long-term ill health
  • Investigating how taking combinations of medication may affect pregnant women with two or more long-term health conditions and their babies
  • Building a prediction model to help identify how likely a previously healthy pregnant woman will develop multiple long-term health conditions after pregnancy.

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research and Principal Investigator of MuM-PreDiCT, Professor Krish Nirantharakumar, said: “Having two or more health conditions is becoming more common in pregnant women as women are increasingly older when they start having a family and as obesity and mental health conditions are on the rise in general.

“However, we don’t really understand what the consequences are of multiple health conditions or medications for mothers and babies.

“This can make pregnancy, healthcare and managing medications more complicated. Without deeper understanding of the problem, women with several long-term health conditions may not have the best and safest experience of care before, during and after pregnancy because services have not been designed with their health needs in mind.”

Currently, one in five pregnant women in the UK have two or more active long-term health conditions such as physical conditions like diabetes or raised blood pressure, or mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

More information about the study can be found here.