Development of a core outcome set (COS) for multiple pregnancy studies: part of the ‘COMET’ initiative to standardise outcomes collected in research
Dr Katie Morris

The aim of this research is to create a research Core Outcome Set (COS) for twin, triplet and higher order pregnancies. To help patients, doctors and health professionals make decisions about treatments, we need objective evidence about what works best. Treatments are developed and tested by researchers to make sure they work and are safe. To do this they need to look at the effects those treatments have on patients. Researchers do this by measuring an ‘outcome’.

At the moment, different published studies looking at treatments for the same condition often measure different outcomes. When the two studies are finished, we cannot compare or combine their results because they have used different outcomes. For twin and triplet pregnancies this is particularly important as there are so many different complications these pregnancies are at risk of. By creating a core outcome set, it means that smaller studies will be able to be combined to create larger more powerful studies, and that the results will be relevant and useful.

The researchers have already looked at existing research to see what outcomes they used, and will also be working with parents, doctors, nurses, midwives and others to identify possible outcomes and prioritise them into the final list of outcomes with definitions and measurements for each outcome.

This study will help to ensure that research money and time is spent answering the most important questions, and that research that is conducted is of a high quality. In turn, this will improve outcomes for women and their babies.

This study is being carried out by Dr R. Katie Morris at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, and was funded by the Twins Trust and BMFMS research bursaries.