Our History

In 1964, Professor Will Nixon, an obstetrician, set up the 'Childbirth Research Centre', after witnessing the grief of a young man whose wife had died during childbirth.

Professor Nixon was director of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at University College Hospital, London for over twenty years.  He gathered leading members of the medical profession to help him like Sir George Pinker, Lord Brain, Sir John Peel and Wilfred Sheldon along with businessmen like Mr Bonham-Carter, Mr Farrer-Brown and Mr Holman.  With a few colleagues they registered the charity in October 1964.  Their objective was to reduce the number of women and babies who died during pregnancy and childbirth through encouraging scientific and medical research.

In 1972, the name was changed to “Birthright” – The National Fund for Childbirth Research” in order to reflect the national activities of the charity both in terms of fundraising and research.

In April 1975 Birthright agreed to work in partnership with The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to improve women’s health.  Birthright broadened its remit to include all aspects of obstetrics and gynaecology.

We remain unique as a charity, in having such a comprehensive remit for women's healthy.  We are still almost the only funder of peer reviewed medical research into topics such as the menopause or incontinence, and unique in doing so alongside funding work that seeks to understand why, and prevent, so many pregnancies ending badly, and also in funding work which may lead to new therapies for gynaecological cancer.

In the late eighties and early nineties, the charity was honoured to have the support of Diana, Princess of Wales, as a very active and committed Patron. And in keeping with it’s original mission to respond to important health challenges faced by women, the charity was renamed ‘Wellbeing.’

The charity became ‘Wellbeing of Women’, in 2004 and as a united charity with the National Birthday Trust Fund (1928) is one of the oldest health charities in the UK.

Our mission remains to improve women's health through research, training and education.  Whilst 17 babies still die every day in the UK, largely unexplained, and 145 women a week die of gynaecological cancers, we still have a lot to do.

In 2007, the Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown became our Patron. Her dedication to our charity has helped raise our profile as our work continues to improve the lives of millions of women affected by reproductive health problems in the UK.

In recent years our researchers have discovered that brain damage in babies deprived oxygen at birth can be reduced by more than half if given melatonin, that women experiencing severe hot flushes may have an abnormality in the function of blood vessels. Additionally we have had a major breakthrough in understanding the irregular cell activity which cause endometriosis.

As the year 2014 marks our 50th birthday, we will strive to not only understand why these issues occur, but will look to resolve them and so many more within the next 50 years.

Wellbeing of Women is committed to working for the long term benefits of women and their families.   

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First Floor
Fairgate House
78 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1HB

Tel: 020 3697 7000

Registered Charity No:
England & Wales (239281)
Scotland (SC042856)

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