Premature birth is a complication of pregnancy that desperately needs our help. Surprisingly it has not been prioritised despite all the incredible advances in modern medicine. It affects an astonishing amount of infants and families each year. Although exact figures are hard to source, it is predicted that 15 million babies may be affected and is a major cause of disability and sadly remains the biggest cause of death in children under 5 throughout the world.
Professor Tiong Ghee Teoh, best known as "TG", is a pioneering and highly championed obstetrician and gynaecologist who specialises in high-risk pregnancies.
He was on the specialist team at the Lindo Wing for the birth of the Duchess of Cambridge's three children, Prince George, Louis and Princess Charlotte. He is also a close friend of Janet Jackson, delivering her son Eissa.
TG recalls the moment that he decided to put all his energy into research into premature birth. TG remembers two stories - one of a woman who very unfortunately delivered and lost her baby 20 weeks into her pregnancy, and one month later another woman delivering twins 24 weeks into her pregnancy - one of the twins sadly passed away a number of hours after birth, and the second only survived for four weeks.
These two experiences scarred me, as there were no warning signs and we could not anticipate them happening, there was no obvious past medical history. I came to realise that premature birth had many reasons for happening, and most of them were unpredictable and only sometimes preventable. This then came my thirst for knowledge and the pursuit for the reduction and prevention of premature birth.
- Prof. TG
Professor Phil Bennett is also an extremely recognised name in his field. He is the Director of the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, and the Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust Research Director for Women and Children's Health. He established one of the first preterm birth prevention services in the UK, providing the framework for a series of studies of diagnostics and interventions which have improved the outcomes in women at risk of premature labour.
Together, with the funds raised, TG and Phil will be able to continue the prioritisation of research into this issue that affects so many families, and will save thousands of lives.
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