MIREDA transforming maternal and infant health research in the UK: early success in standardising data

A year into its innovative initiative, the Mother & Infant Research Electronic Data Analysis (MIREDA) partnership is transforming maternal and infant health research in the UK, particularly for disadvantaged communities.

Launched with a £1.4 million grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) in 2023, MIREDA brings together leading researchers from Swansea University (HDR UK Wales), the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London, the University of Nottingham, the University of Birmingham (both from HDRUK Midlands), and the Bradford Institute for Health Research.

MIREDA tackling disadvantage at its roots

MIREDA addresses the impact of poverty and social disadvantage on health, starting from early life stages. Factors like drug and alcohol use can adversely affect a baby’s development, with long-term consequences.

Centralising data

MIREDA’s first year has seen significant achievements, including creating a centralised resource that integrates harmonised birth cohort data with local datasets in public health, neonatal health, imaging, primary care, and hospitals. This comprehensive data integration will enable researchers to examine the complex factors influencing maternal and infant health.

Professor Sinead Brophy, MIREDA Lead at HDR UK Wales, reflected on the past year’s progress: “A key achievement has been consolidating birth data from England, Scotland, and Wales into a standardised format. This allows comparative analysis, helping us understand the impact of regional healthcare practices on maternal and infant health. For instance, we can now investigate how prenatal vaccination rates and financial support during pregnancy affect health outcomes for mothers and babies.”

Professor Rebecca Reynolds from the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at Edinburgh University added: “Working with the MIREDA team offers a tremendous opportunity to learn and improve pregnancy outcomes for mothers and babies.”

MIREDA’s data-driven approach aims to identify effective interventions to significantly improve maternal and child health across the UK, paving the way for a healthier future for mothers and their babies.

Along with MIREDA, HDR UK Wales work in partnership with several other projects aimed at improving health outcomes for mothers and babies, including MuM-PreDICT and the MAGENTA project, which explores the impact of temperature on pregnancy outcomes. The team at HDR UK Wales focuses on high-quality research to enhance maternal and child health and inform healthcare policy and practice.

Find out more about HDR UK Wales work on Maternal and Child Health