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About the MFMU

The Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network

The NICHD established the MFMU Network in 1986 to respond to the need for well-designed clinical trials in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics, particularly with respect to preterm birth. The aims of the network are to reduce maternal, fetal, and infant morbidity related to preterm birth, fetal growth abnormalities, and maternal complications and to provide the rationale for evidence-based, cost-effective obstetric practice. NICHD funds the MFMU Network through its Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB) using the cooperative clinical research award mechanism (U10) in 5-year competitive cycles. For the 2016-2021 cycle, the MFMU Network includes 12 clinical centers at U.S. universities and hospitals, a data coordinating center at the George Washington University, and NICHD. MFMU centers may include one or more affiliated hospitals. Yale is a sub-site to the Brown University MFMU clinical center.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke also provide support for certain MFMU network projects. Network studies include randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, and registries. Visit the MFMU Network website for details.

The Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network focuses on clinical questions in maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics, particularly with respect to the continuing problem of preterm birth. The Network provides an infrastructure to conduct multiple large studies simultaneously, in both a cost-effective and timely manner. The 12 participating clinical centers cover over 160,000 deliveries a year and are racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse, allowing study results to be generalizable to the U.S. population. Results from the MFMU Network studies have impacted clinical practice, both by finding treatments that prevent poor pregnancy outcomes and by stopping ineffective, costly, and potentially harmful therapies.

The major aims of the MFMU Network are to:

  • Reduce the rates of preterm birth, fetal growth abnormalities, newborn morbidity, and maternal complications of pregnancy
  • Evaluate maternal and fetal interventions for efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness
In order to achieve these aims, the Network incorporates translational research, genetic analysis, and the evaluation of new technologies in the promotion of maternal-child health/prevention of disease.