Interwoven Souls Coalition


Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Interwoven Souls Coalition has raised nearly $115,000 and has helped to fund three medical research projects.

  • Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center

In 2009, Interwoven Souls Coalition partnered with the University of Chicago Medical Center to support research which focused on a very rare type of twins commonly referred to as the “Mo-Mo Twins.” This project was led by Dr. Mahmoud Ismail. Dr. Ismail is recognized as one of Chicago’s Best Doctor’s. He is also a father of triplets, so his interest in research of a multiples pregnancy may be a bit more than just a professional curiosity.

The "Mo-Mo Twins" are a very rare type of twinning, where two babies (always identical twins) share the same placenta and amniotic sac. The survival rate for these types of twins is only about 60%. This low percentage is a result of the risks and conditions in the womb, including cord compression and cord entanglement. The "Mo-Di Twins" share the same placenta, but each have their own amniotic sac. In both situations, the babies risk a condition called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion syndrome (TTTS) in which one twin receives a majority of the nourishment from the placenta, where the other becomes under noursished. Both babies are at risk for survival in TTTS.

Dr. Mahmoud Ismail led this research project to optimize the outcome for the "Mo-Mo Twins" and the "Mo-Di Twins" - the objective being to keep them safe in the womb long even until they can survive outside of it. The findings of the study showed there were no intrauterine fetal deaths in either group, and there were no significant differences in birth weight or neonatal morbidity. Based on these findings, Dr. Ismail and his colleagues concluded that continuous fetal monitoring did not improve neonatal or perinatal morbidity when compared with inpatient intermittent fetal monitoring.

  • Research at the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute

In selecting the research projects that we financial support, Interwoven Souls Coalition considers only projects that aim to reduce or learn more about these complications. One complication that women carrying multiples is the weight that is placed on their cervix. A cervix that may be fully adequate to carry a single pregnancy to term may fail prematurely under the weight of multiple babies. This just means that women carrying multiples really need to educate themselves on the risks and learn about the treatment options.

At its Sixth Annual Hearts for Hope Dinner & Silent Auction in 2014, Interwoven Souls Coalition donated $30,000 to the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute for their Cervical Insufficiency Biopsy and Cerclage Study.

The goal of this study is to provide a first look at the cervix during pregnancy, specifically women who have had trouble with prior pregnancies and are having a cervical cerclage placed in the present pregnancy. Biopsy at the time of cerclage would allow for differentiation of tissue types which manifest as cervical insufficiency from those with cervical sufficiency. In this fashion, a patient may be screened, those who would benefit from cerclage predicated and placed, and those without benefit would not have a cerclage placed.  In summary, this information might be the key to the "why" for cervical insufficiency.

Dr. Vlastos is triple board certified in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Family Practice. He is an assistant professor at St. Louis University School of Medicine who is also certified in advanced cardiac life support, advanced trauma life support, and neonatal resuscitation.

  • Research at Saint Louis University

Our most recent project, titled Cerclage for Ultrasound-Diagnosed Short Cervix in Twins: A Randomized Controlled Trial, is led by Dr. Laura Vricella through the Saint Louis University Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. Mary's Hospital. The aim of the research is to determine the effects of a cerclage placement in twin pregnancies where the gestational age is between 16 and 24 weeks and the cervix is less than 25mm. The results of this research will have a direct impact on the practice of twin pregnancy management. We couldn't be more excited to have an opportunity to fund this research. It asks the "whys" and "what ifs" that will hopefully benefit families in the future.

Dr. Vricella graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Medicine in 2006. She works in Chesterfield, MO and specializes in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Vricella is affiliated with Mercy Hospital Washington, Saint Anthony's Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital.