How a single blood sample could determine if you’re at risk of pre-eclampsia

Pregnant women could find out if they’re at risk of developing the potentially life-threatening condition months before symptoms begin to show. Kate Ng finds out how researchers are tackling pregnancy complications

Wednesday 05 January 2022 16:52

The term “pre-eclampsia” is a worrying thing for any pregnant mother to hear, as it is a serious condition that can be dangerous for both mother and baby if left untreated.

The condition affects around one in 12 pregnancies, and is characterised by the combination of raised blood pressure (hypertension) and kidney or liver problems or protein in the urine. It can range from mild to severe, with mild cases affecting up to six per cent of pregnancies and rarer, more severe cases developing in about one to two per cent of pregnancies.

It is not known what causes pre-eclampsia, which usually develops during the second half of pregnancy (after 20 weeks) or soon after the baby is delivered. The early signs of pre-eclampsia are usually picked up during routine antenatal appointments and can be monitored and treated straight away.

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