Investigating links between stillbirth and lupus

  • Lupus and Stillbirth

  • University of Manchester

  • £148,257

    _MG_9671Dr Ian Crocker at the University of Manchester is investigating whether some cases of stillbirth may be caused by undiagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Current situation
More than half of all stillbirths and miscarriages that occur in the UK are classified as unexplained. In these situations the inability to define a specific cause can be distressing for families and leaves them concerned about future pregnancies.

In the UK, there are around 4,000 stillbirths and 16,000 late miscarriages each year. In particular, women with SLE are more at risk of these complications during pregnancy. For some women these pregnancy losses occur before SLE has been diagnosed. There is therefore a need for further research to establish how many women and their babies are affected by undiagnosed SLE in this way.

How this project will help
Dr Crocker and his team believe that a proportion of cases of unexplained stillbirth and late miscarriage may be due to undiagnosed SLE or related autoimmune conditions. They aim to define the numbers of women this applies to, and also to investigate what is going wrong in their pregnancy that causes them to lose their babies. If this is known, some of these babies may be saved by providing more appropriate pregnancy care and medicines.

Ultimately, this research will define and justify not only the need for a screening test for SLE or related conditions in early pregnancy, but also the form this screening test should take. Such screening, which is not routinely conducted too date, could have rapid clinical benefits, allowing doctors to identify women at risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. With this knowledge, mothers-to-be could benefit from more targeted and appropriate antenatal management with the additional possibility of interventions which could significantly improve their chance of a live birth.

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Help us fund more projects like this stillbirth and lupus one by getting involved today.