Fresh into Obstetrics & Gynaecology registrar training, it was apparent to me that more evidence based research was needed in a traditional Obstetric specialty. I was passionate about improving labour ward care and was interested in exploring the use of transperineal ultrasound, which is a non-intrusive method of ultrasound, on the delivery suite. Thus far, transperineal ultrasound had been used mainly for prostate surgery but there was a growing interest in this area to introduce a more objective method of assessment of labour progress to improve the experience of women in labour.
I started looking for research funding in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and found the BMA Helen Lawson grant for research into new technologies across medicine. I was successfully awarded the grant in 2014 which allowed me to take time out of programme to develop this area but also allowed me to register for a PhD at Imperial College London.
We began scanning on the labour ward at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital in 2015 and I soon became a very popular addition to the team. We finished recruiting for this aspect of the study at the end of last year. The results of the feasibility of transperineal ultrasound and the acceptability of this technique have been or will be submitted to high impact journals and have been presented at local, national and international conferences.
Leading on from this work, we are now exploring the use of ultrasound in prediction of labour outcome and have developed an App. We have strong collaborations with research institutions in Norway, Belgium and Italy with whom we have research meetings and share ideas. The area has excited considerable interest in the clinical community and I have been involved in several workshops and presentations in the UK and beyond (Montreal, Norway and Vienna).
This grant enabled us to obtain a further £100,000 in grant funding from Imperial Confidence in Concept (MRC/BRC funding) and Imperial College Healthcare Charities and has set the stage for us to apply for further grants from the NIHR and other major funding bodies.