Globally, there is one preterm birth every two seconds. These babies (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) are often critically ill and suffer lifelong complications. There has been exceptionally limited success in reducing rates of preterm birth, largely because current treatment plans are ‘one size fits all’ while preterm delivery often has very different causes. Our scientists have made major headway in addressing this, and identifying potential solutions. In an original study funded by Genesis, which profiled the thousands of small molecules that are present in blood and urine, we found that we can identify different reasons for preterm birth from very early in pregnancy. This means that we can now begin to design individualised treatment and prevention plans that are based upon a much better understanding of why any individual woman is at risk and therefore much more likely to be successful.