This study examines the evidence base on UK pregnancy research needs and priorities and how it compares to the current funding landscape. The report indicates the NHS spends significantly less on pregnancy-related research compared with other health conditions.
Funding for pregnancy research totalled £255 million from 2013 to 2017, or about £51 million a year. As pregnancy care costs the NHS £5.8 billion annually, this means that for every £1 spent on pregnancy care, less than 1 penny is spent on research.
The study found that this investment is much lower than for conditions such as heart disease – 7p for every £1 spent on care – and cancer – 12p for every £1.
The report, commissioned by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, shows that the £255 million spent on pregnancy research accounts for about 2.4 per cent of all direct, non-industry health research.
- £51m per year is invested in pregnancy research in the UK.
- For every £1 spent on pregnancy care in the NHS, around 1p is spent on research.
- Mental health research is the top priority for all stakeholders and is likely underfunded.
- Other priority topics are varied, spanning stillbirth, preterm birth, inequalities, postnatal support, and safety of medications during pregnancy. The level of funding currently provided differs across the topics identified as priorities.
Full document: Pregnancy research review | The RAND Corporation
Additional link: RAND press release