Usher Institute

Co-OPT: consortium for the study of pregnancy treatments

A new collaborative consortium for the study of pregnancy treatments.

Co-OPT study logo

Summary (Research in a nutshell)

50% of pregnant women are prescribed drugs in pregnancy, but there are significant knowledge gaps about the safety, optimum dosage and long-term effects of medications in pregnancy. 

Co_OPT will address these knowledge gaps through individual patient data level meta-analysis and data linkage studies with data extracted from electronic health records and contributed from birth registries, cohort studies and RCTs.

The initial focus of Co_OPT will be on antenatal corticosteroid treatment. With cross-disciplinary expertise, and data from thirteen datasets (1.5million women and their children) Co_OPT will

  • Describe how antenatal corticosteroid treatment is used across a variety of settings.
  • Determine the short and long-term outcomes of antenatal corticosteroids in women and babies who are treated and subsequently deliver at term (unnecessary treatment), or deliver >7 days after administration (inappropriately timed treatment), or receive antenatal corticosteroids to cover early term delivery.
  • Determine characteristics that influence maternal and infant outcomes following ACT, develop predictive models for their use and determine best formulation and dose regimens.

Key people

Name Role
Dr Sarah Stock Chief Investigator
Rebecca Lees Administrator
TBC Post-doctoral researcher


Dr Sarah Stock:

Key publications

  1. Kemp MW, Jobe AH, Usuda H, Nathanielsz PW, Li C, Kuo A, Huber HF, Clarke GD, Saito M, Newnham JP, Stock SJ. Efficacy and Safety of Antenatal Steroids. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2018 Apr 11. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00193.2017.
  2. Agnew EJ, Ivy JR, Stock SJ, Chapman KE. Glucocorticoids, antenatal corticosteroid therapy and fetal heart maturation. J Mol Endocrinol. 2018 Jul;61(1):R61-R73. doi: 10.1530/JME-18-0077. Epub 2018 May 2.
  3. Kemp MW, Newnham JP, Challis JG, Jobe AH, Stock SJ. The clinical use of corticosteroids in pregnancy. Hum Reprod Update. 2015 Nov 20.

Key Collaborations

Professor K Allergaert (KU Leuven, Belgium)

Associate Professor C Bannerman-Gyamfi (Columbia University, USA)

Dr Jasper Been (Erasmus MC, Netherlands)

Dr S Bhattacharya (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Associate Professor K Einarsdottir (Centre for Health Sciences, University of Iceland)

Dr Abigail Fraser (University of Bristol)

Professor M Gissler (National Institute of Health and Welfare, Finland)

Professor Lani Florian (University of Edinburgh)

Professor B Jacobsson (Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

Professor S Kuhle (Dalhousie University, Canada)

Pamela Linksted (NHS Lothian, UK)

Simone Cramer (European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants)

Professor B Mol (University of Adelaide, Australia)

Professor Jane Norman (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Associate Professor L Pedersen (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Professor R Reynolds (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Professor R Riley (University of Keele, UK)

Dr A Roberts (King’s College London)

Dr D Roberts (Liverpool Women's Hospital, UK)

Professor D Robertson (University of Edinburgh)

Assistant Professor E Schuit (UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands)

Dr J Vogel (Maternal and Perinatal Health, WHO)

Dr Rachael Wood (University of Edinburgh)

Professor J Wright (Bradford Institute for Health Research, UK)

Partners and Funders

Wellcome Trust

European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants


June 2018 - May 2023


Scientific themes

Pregnancy, Antenatal corticosteroids, Medicines, Preterm, Stillbirth, Perinatal Mortality, Neurodevelopment

Methodology keywords

Natural Language Processing, Individual Patient Data Level Meta-analysis (IPD meta-analysis), Predictive models, Cohort