The NICHD established the MFMU Network in 1986 to focus on clinical questions in maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics, particularly with respect to the continuing problem of preterm birth. The Institute funds the MFMU Network through its Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB).
The MFMU Network is funded through the Cooperative Clinical Research award mechanism (U10) in five-year competitive cycles. For the 2011–2016 cycle, the MFMU Network includes 14 clinical centers at U.S. universities and hospitals, and a data coordinating center (DCC). MFMU sites may include one or more affiliated hospitals.
In fiscal year 2010, the NICHD funded 14 research grants to the MFMU Network sites plus the Data Coordinating Center at the George Washington University Biostatistics Center. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute also provide support for certain projects within the MFMU Network.
MFMU Network studies include randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, and registries.
The MFMU Network has conducted clinical studies related to the following critical areas of research: maternal health; fetal health and development; gestational diabetes, asthma, and thyroid disorders; and preterm labor.
Current MFMU Network studies include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Antenatal Late Preterm Steroids (ALPS): A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial examines whether antenatal steroids administered at 34 weeks to 36 weeks of gestation, with anticipated delivery date in the late preterm period, reduces the need for neonatal respiratory support.
- A Randomized Trial of Fetal ECG ST Segment and T Wave Analysis (STAN) as an Adjunct to Electronic Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring is studying whether fetal STAN reduces the risk of perinatal hypoxic-ischemic morbidity and mortality.
- A Randomized Trial of Thyroxine Therapy for Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Hypothyroxinemia Diagnosed During Pregnancy seeks to determine whether giving thyroxine to women with subclinical hypothyroidism or hypothyroxinemia diagnosed during the first half of pregnancy is associated with an intellectual improvement in their offspring. The trial is now in the follow-up phase.
- A Randomized Trial to Prevent Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection (CMV) is to determine whether maternal administration of CMV hyperimmune globulin prior to 24 weeks gestation in women diagnosed with primary CMV infection reduces the congenital CMV infection.
- An Observational Study of Hepatitis C Virus in Pregnancy (HCV) is to evaluate risk factors associated with HCV infection and mother-to-child transmission of HCV.
- Mild GDM Management and Long Term Maternal and Child Health: Follow-Up of the Mild GDM Study will examine whether treatment of pregnant women with mild gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) decreases the risk of obesity in their children aged 4.5 to 10 years compared with children born to women who did not receive treatment for mild GDM in pregnancy.
- An Observational Cohort Study to Evaluate Measures of Quality of Obstetric Care is designed to evaluate the quality of obstetric care, defined as adherence to process measures (i.e., clinical guidelines), associated with five obstetric outcomes.
Current MFMU Network main centers include:
- Case Western Reserve University/MetroHealth Medical Center
- Columbia University
- Duke University
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- Stanford University
- University of Alabama, Birmingham
- University of Colorado
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston
- University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
- University of Utah
- Women’s and Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island/Brown University
The DCC for the MFMU Network is at the George Washington University Biostatistics Center.