In 1988, Dr. Mary Hannah proposed the development of a perinatal research program. The program was funded in 1990 and designated as the University of Toronto Perinatal Clinical Epidemiology Unit (PCEU) at Women's College Hospital. The TermPROM study was the first international multicentre randomized controlled trial coordinated by PCEU.

In 1995, PCEU became the first component of The Centre for Research in Women's Health; its name was changed to the Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health Research Unit (MIRU).

Over the next 12 years, MIRU successfully completed other international multicentre trials, including the Term Breech Trial, the ECV Trial and the CHIPS Pilot Trial, while supporting a variety of smaller studies and providing consultation to local colleagues and research training to students.

Emerging from this legacy of practice-changing trials, The Centre for Mother, Infant, and Child Research, or CMICR, was born when a group of a group of trial researchers and staff at Sunnybrook Research Institute came together.