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Manchester Placenta Clinic

The Manchester Placenta Clinic is one of several specialist antenatal clinics held at Saint Mary's Hospital.  Our aim is to improve the care and treatment of pregnant women who have, or are at risk of having, babies with Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR).

The Manchester Placenta Clinic has two main functions:

  • To help to identify women who may be having a baby that is smaller than expected and may develop Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR).
  • To provide care for women who are having a baby that is smaller than expected and may have Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR).

 

What is Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR)?

Most babies grow normally in the womb, however some babies (around 1 in 20) are smaller than expected.  This is called Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR).

 

Why is this important?

It is important that we find out which babies have Fetal Growth Restriction as if it is undetected it can, in some cases, cause stillbirth. The risk of this happening is reduced by carefully monitoring the baby's growth and wellbeing and choosing the right time to deliver the baby, this is usually earlier than the expected date of delivery.

Being seen in the Placenta Clinic does not mean that your baby has Fetal Growth Restriction, it means that we need to take a closer look to make sure that receive the right care in your pregnancy.

Many of the women we see in Placenta Clinic go on to have normal pregnancies.

 

What causes FGR?

The cause of FGR is largely unknown but we do know that FGR can occur when the placenta is not working well enough to provide the baby with sufficient nutrients to grow normally.

We know that smoking in pregnancy can make this worse, so if you do smoke it is better for you and your baby if you stop smoking. You can speak to your GP for help with this.

 

Why have I been referred to the clinic?

The most common reasons for referring women to the clinic are because:

  • You have had a small baby in the past.
  • A hormone level in your blood (measured when you had screening for Down Syndrome) suggests that your baby's growth may slow down later in pregnancy.  This does not alter any results you have been given about the risk of Down Syndrome.
  • Your baby is currently smaller than expected.

 

What happens at the clinic?

Your first appointment will usually be around 23 weeks of pregnancy.  At the appointment you will have an ultrasound scan, an antenatal check and a chat with the doctor and midwife about your care. You do not need to have a full bladder for this scan.  23 weeks of pregnancy is a good time to check your baby's growth and the information we get from the scan helps us to plan the care you will receive during the rest of your pregnancy. For example, the scan tells us if we need to see you again in the Placenta Clinic or if you can continue to have care with your community midwife. We will discuss this with you at the appointment.

If the scan shows that your baby is smaller than expected or that your baby's growth is likely to slow down later on in pregnancy, then we will ask you to come back for further scans so that we can continue to monitor your baby's growth.  The findings of the scan and a plan of care will be discussed with you at each appointment.

We advise all pregnant women to get to know your own baby's pattern of movements and to contact the hospital if your baby's pattern of movements slows down. There is no set number of normal movements. Your baby will have their own pattern of movements that you should get to know. From 16-24 weeks on you should feel your baby move for the first time and this will increase up until 32 weeks then stay roughly the same until you give birth. If you notice a change in your baby's pattern of movements, always ring the hospital the same day. DO NOT leave it until the next day or your next appointment.  You can ring the Triage department at Saint Mary's Hospital on (0161) 276 6567.

Have a look at this short film for more information about baby's movements in pregnancy:

www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/baby-moving-less/movements-matter

 

We are always trying to find out more about babies' growth during pregnancy so you may be asked to take part in a research study when you attend the clinic.  This is something that is optional; your decision about taking part in a research study will not affect your care in any way.  Click the link below for more information about pregnancy research:

https://research.cmft.nhs.uk/research/saint-marys-hospital/maternal-and-fetal-health

 

What can I do if I have more questions?

If you have any questions you can speak to one of our midwives, Suzanne or Louise.  They are available Monday to Friday (9.00 am - 4.30 pm) on (0161) 701 6965.

 

Where is the clinic held?

The clinic is held on the 5th floor of Saint Mary's Hospital in the Tommy's Research Centre; click here to download directions to the Manchester Placenta Clinic.

 

The team

Dr Ed Johnstone (Consultant Obstetrician)

Carol Stella (Clinic Secretary)

Suzanne Thomas (Clinic Midwife)

Sarah Lee (Clinic Midwife)

Louise Stephens (Midwife)

Dr Zoe Thurlwell (Clinical Research Fellow)

Dr Lynne Warrander (Clinical Research Fellow)

 

Contact details

Carol Stella (Clinic Secretary) - (0161) 701 7158

Suzanne Thomas (Clinic Midwife) - (0161) 701 6965

Louise Stephens (Midwife) - (0161) 701 6965

Monday to Friday (9.00 am - 4.30 pm).