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Case study: Clinical trial helped Croydon mum give birth to ‘miracle baby’

Read about how the BUMP trial changed this mum's life.

A mother has spoken about how a clinical research study in south London helped her give birth to her “miracle baby.”

Hayley Gurden, 30, from London Road, Croydon, took part in the BUMP trial which involved monitoring her blood pressure at home, after becoming pregnant with her daughter, Poppy. Her first son Freddy died in July 2018. He was stillborn at 30 weeks at Croydon University Hospital.

The BUMP study was a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio study which was supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South London. It looked at monitoring for risks of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women with high blood pressure. Patients were selected to take and self-monitor their own blood pressure via an app at home, or through clinical appointments in hospital.

There were 2,943 babies who were stillborn in the UK in 2018, and around 60% of stillbirths are unexplained.

Hayley, who worked as a wedding and entertainment coordinator before leaving her job to take care of her daughter, said the support she received from Croydon Health Services NHS Trust was integral in reducing her stress and anxiety right up until she gave birth in November 2019. She said:

"My partner, Andy, and I are still in disbelief. I never believed I’d become a mum after losing Freddy. Poppy is our little miracle. I was suffering with anxiety throughout the pregnancy and after we hit the 30-week mark I felt like we were living on borrowed time. I was keen to deliver my daughter as soon as it was safe to do so.

“It was awful to lose Freddy and at the time it led to me reducing my working hours as I was finding the situation really hard. However, I do really want to thank the maternity team at Croydon University Hospital for the wonderful care they gave to me, Andy, Freddy and Poppy. Taking part in the BUMP trial was so helpful. Being able to take and monitor my own blood pressure through the app was really empowering, as before I had not felt in control of any aspect of my life. Keeping track of my own blood pressure was a way I could have a small, positive impact on mine and Poppy’s future. When Poppy is older we will be taking her to Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve every July to remember Freddy.

“Poppy is doing really well. She is a little joy to be around. Andy and I are both loving her being here and we have spent hours just staring at her. I’d encourage people to take part in research as my experience on the trial has given me the confidence to consider having another baby in the future, and the results of this research may help to prevent another family from going through what we did.”

The BUMP study sponsor was the University of Oxford and the funder was the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility.

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Bini Ajay at Croydon University Hospital, who was Principal Investigator on the BUMP trial, said: “BUMP has helped to empower women by engaging and putting them in control of their care. Blood pressure results can help us to identify any potential risks early on in pregnancy which can change the lives of families.

“I’m very happy for Hayley, Andy and Poppy and feel proud that we have helped them. I hope the results of this trial will go on to deliver benefits for many more women.”