Research clinics and study volunteers

Our research groups conduct studies in which people help test treatments or approaches to prevention or diagnosis, to see whether they are safe and effective. People who take part in trials are volunteers, usually patients. Clinical studies are essential for developing better treatments and improving healthcare for both adults and children.

Gynaecology Research Study Volunteers

Our research primarily involves women who present to hospital with pelvic floor disorders. Often during the course of their visit they will be invited to participate in research.

Women wishing to volunteer should contact our research coordinator, Lucy Dwyer

Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre

Bench-to-bedside research

The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre (which is part of Pregnancy and Maternity Services) is based on the 5th floor of St Mary's Hospital where we work closely with clinicians and midwives of the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in research to improve pregnancy outcome and maternity care.

We are constantly developing our research ideas and, as the need for us to conduct rigorous studies into maternal and fetal health remains acute, it is likely that at some point during pregnancy, expectant mothers attending St Mary's Hospital will be asked to get involved in one of our studies, though participation is entirely voluntary.

Our research uses a variety of methods, such as clinical trials, one-to-one, or group interviews, and observational studies which collect samples and data from pregnant women, partners and their babies. We try to ask all women to donate their placenta to research following the birth of their baby.

Research clinic About the clinic
Placenta clinic logo

Manchester Placenta Clinic
Receives the majority of referrals through the screening specialist midwife, consultants at St Mary's but also receives referrals from across the North West.

Women with abnormal serum screening or with a history of fetal growth restriction or placental abruption are referred at 23-weeks gestation to be monitored and scanned regularly to ensure delivery is at the appropriate time for a safe and healthy outcome.

MAVIS logo

This aims to investigate whether we can improve the management of women with high blood pressure in pregnancy in the future.

The clinic is designed to provide additional monitoring, ultrasound scans and support.

Advice about diet, low dose aspirin is also given.

Lips logo

A joint rheumatology and lupus clinic offering care from preconception through to postnatal to improve the outcomes of women within this specialty.

Regular scans of placental perfusion are offered with a wide range of specialist care.

Provides continuity of obstertric and maternity care, in a holistic fashion, to women who have experienced a previous late pregnancy loss.

Clinical studies

All our research studies are conducted with approval from the appropriate research ethics committee

We are also recruiting to the following clinical studies of pregnancy complications:

Fetal growth restriction

This study aims is to find out how and when MRI scanning should be used to improve the information available to parents before birth, about the health of their baby; particularly when there may be a concern about babies growth and brain development.

Women with reduced baby movements after 28 weeks of pregnancy will be offered an extra scan to check how their baby is growing. With consent, your placenta will also be collected after delivery, to measure how well it works and how healthy it looks.


Women with pre-eclampsia are likely to be admitted to hospital for observation in order to achieve the best pregnancy outcome. These women are invited to take part in a clinical trial of Pravastatin, a class of medicines called 'Statins', that might improve their condition and delay an early delivery.

A substance called Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) is produced by the placenta in normal pregnancy but the levels of PlGF are reduced in women with high blood pressure or if your baby is small. We are hoping to provide evidence that a blood test can be used to improve diagnosis of these conditions.

Tackling pregnancy problems in the real world

At the time of your elective caesarean section, you may be asked to donate a small amount of your amniotic fluid to measure for erythropoietin levels. This will help assess the need for Type 1 diabetic women to be offered an amniocentesis to determine when delivery is necessary.

The aim is to look at the effects of an educational DVD on maternal anxiety and blood sugar controls in newly diagnosed diabetic women.

The aim of this study is to find out how best to manage the pregnancies of women expecting their first baby over the age of 35 years. We will investigate whether it is better to induce labour at 39-weeks gestation for pregnant women who are over 35 years old or wait for them to go into labour spontaneously.

This study is investigating the reasons for increased risks of pregnancy complications in older women (35 years +).

This study will recruit women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 from booking or Nuchal scan to a UK trial of eating and activities during pregnancy.

If you would like more information about the taking part in research conducted by the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, please contact our Research Midwives, Suzanne Thomas or Cara Taylor on +44(0)161-701-6965 or e-mail: or

Help to shape our research questions

We are also keen to hear from people who have used the maternity services at St Mary's or another hospital as your experiences can play a valuable role in asking the right research questions and advise in the recruitment of patients. Our user involvement group meets approximately twice a year to discuss new research ideas.

If you would like to join these friendly and informal meetings, please contact our Research Midwives, Suzanne Thomas or Cara Taylor on +44(0)161 701 6965 or email: