Help provide a healthier future for unborn babies

At The Ritchie Centre, the Hudson Institute of Medical Research’s hub for fetal and neonatal research, our world-class scientists are investigating ways to prevent stillbirth and improve the health and growth of precious unborn babies.

Dr Hayley Dickinson - At The Ritchie Centre, the Hudson Institute’s hub for fetal and neonatal research, our world-class scientists are working hard.
Dr Hayley Dickinson

Dr Hayley Dickinson and her team at The Ritchie Centre recently made an important medical discovery: the nutrient creatine appears crucial in pregnancy for the growth and development of unborn babies.

Creatine is essential for growth, and for function of our muscles and brains. It supplies and helps to renew energy for our cells. Half our daily creatine requirement comes from fish, meat and dairy products. Our bodies make the other half naturally.

In a world-first, Hayley and her team showed that a woman’s creatine levels during pregnancy relate to the growth of her baby in the womb.

This discovery suggests that women with low creatine levels may give birth to critically small babies who are at risk of brain injury and even stillbirth.

Every day six Australian babies are stillborn. Globally, each day more than 7,000 babies are stillborn. This is devastating for families anticipating taking their babies home, who don’t.

But the work of Hayley and her team offers hope and a practical solution.

Making sure pregnant women have adequate creatine levels will help to ensure enough cellular energy for their unborn babies to not just survive, but to thrive.

This exciting discovery provides a real opportunity to benefit all pregnant women and their babies, but first more research needs to be done.

We urgently need your help to study a much larger number of women to monitor their creatine levels during pregnancy. The findings will directly benefit unborn babies and may provide new dietary guidelines for pregnant women, including a minimum recommended creatine intake.

Contact us

Hudson Institute communications
t: +61 3 8572 2761