Small Baby Research Clinic


The Small Baby Research Clinic is run every Wednesday afternoon within the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, in the Royal Infirmary Of Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian Maternity Services website

We are a specialist team of obstetricians (doctors who care for pregnant women and pregnant people), midwives and researchers from NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh. We provide high quality, evidence based care to pregnant women and pregnant people, where the growth of their baby needs additional monitoring.

This may be recommended for a number of reasons:

  • If your baby has been measuring small;
  • If you have been diagnosed with a medical problem that might affect your baby's growth, or if you have previously had a pregnancy with a small baby.

Up to 8-10% of babies can be small. Most babies who measure small are growing normally. However, we cannot always distinguish on ultrasound between a baby that is small but appropriately grown, and a baby who has a small size due to their placenta not working as well.

Most babies who are small in late pregnancy are well at birth and remain so after they are born, but some small babies develop difficulties in the womb and need to be born early.

At each appointment you will see a midwife, and an obstetrician. The midwife will offer routine checks on your blood pressure and urine.

The obstetrician will offer to perform an ultrasound scan, in order to assess your baby’s size, the amniotic fluid around your baby, and the blood flow through their brain and the umbilical cord. In some cases we recommend you to have electronic fetal heart rate monitoring using a CTG (cardiotocography). This is similar to what women have in labour to monitor babies’ heartbeat. It can tell us how the placenta is functioning and indicate baby’s wellbeing.

The suggested plan of your care will be explained to you at each visit. Depending on our findings, we may advise planning for an earlier birth. Overall, we try to avoid intervening in pregnancy and we promote conservative management (watch and wait). It is unlikely that we will recommend birth before 37-38 weeks of pregnancy.  We support shared-decision making, and every decision will be individualized to you.

The Small Baby Research Clinic is an antenatal clinic located in the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, within the main building of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Please go the the main reception desk on the ground floor of the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 51 Little France Crescent Edinburgh EH16 4SA

The hospital is situated on the southern outskirts of Edinburgh and is well served by public transport. If travelling by car or taxi, the entrance to the unit is located near Car Park 1G.

Because we are committed to providing high quality care using the very latest evidence, we support a number of research studies investigating the health of babies in the womb through this clinic. This means that you will be offered information about our active studies while you are receiving care through this clinic, and will have the option to sign up for any studies you are interested in.

In some research studies, we may be evaluating new tests or treatments that could be relevant to pregnancy health and baby growth. Where a test or treatment is experimental, it will only be provided in the context of a properly regulated and ethically approved research study, with your full information and consent.

You will receive the highest standard of care in our clinic whether you choose to participate in any of our research studies or none of them.

If you have any questions about the clinic, including appointment queries, please contact: 0131 242 2480 (Research Midwives). 

Please note this is a NON-URGENT number. If you have any concerns about the wellbeing of you and/or your baby, please contact Maternity Triage: 0131 242 2657