News posted 20 March, 2018

Stillbirth Centre Director wins Tommy’s Star Researcher Award

Professor Alex Heazell, Professor of Obstetrics and Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre at Saint Mary’s Hospital part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has won a Tommy’s Award, presented by baby charity Tommy’s. The GSK Star Researcher Award celebrates someone who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to stimulating enthusiasm and interest in pregnancy complications research amongst the general public.

Now in its 23rd year, the Tommy’s Awards recognise heroes and families who’ve have been touched by pregnancy complications, or the loss of a baby. Each year in the UK, one in four parents lose a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Every year, 60,000 babies are born prematurely.

Professor Heazell was nominated by Claire Shelmerdine, 36, who was his patient at the Rainbow Clinic in Manchester after she lost her twins, one before birth and one nine days after birth. Claire comments:

Alex is is just an amazing man. After losing my twins, he offered me hope and made me feel safe and in control during subsequent pregnancies. He has an aura of security and calmness and I will be forever indebted to him, not only for the work he does for Tommy’s and the Rainbow clinic, but for the safe haven he provided for me at the clinic. A place where I’d suffered such sadness soon became a happy place for me again.

Professor Heazell recently led the clinic’s research into maternal sleep and late stillbirth, which looked into 291 pregnancies that ended in stillbirth and 735 women who had a live birth. It confirms findings from earlier studies in New Zealand and Australia that, in the third trimester (after 28 weeks of pregnancy), pregnant women who go to sleep on their back are more likely to have a stillbirth.

The Tommy’s Awards is focussed on celebrating the courage, strength and support provided by friends, family and healthcare professionals during pregnancy. Other nominations in the Tommy’s Awards are as follows – Super Sibling, Little Champion, Doting Dad, Inspirational Mum, Inspirational Family, Healthcare Hero, Star Researcher, Mum’s Voice, Act of Kindness and Star Fundraiser.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on 16 March, 2018 at the Landmark Hotel in London. The Tommy’s Awards also recognise the best family-friendly companies, who are nominated and voted for by the public, in categories ranging from Best Family Friendly Overseas Holiday Provider to Best Baby Clothes Retailer and Best Beauty Product for Mums.