Obstetrics is a young speciality. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was founded in 1926 - by comparison, the Royal College of Physicians founded in 1518 - by William Blair Bell, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Liverpool.
In the 92 years since the College was founded, significant improvements in healthcare have seen morbidity and mortality for both mother and fetus in pregnancy fall globally. And yet, we still do not have a complete understanding of the three commonest complications of late pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction and pre-term birth. We have no effective screening tests and no evidence-based preventive strategies or cures.
This is a public health emergency on a global scale. Developmental programming now indicates that a significant proportion of the burden of non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and heart disease, have their origin in in utero life.