Canadian Researchers Find Test for Deadly Pregnancy Condition

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies, Pregnancy Health, Research Reveals


A team of researchers in Canada may have found a way to predict whether or not pregnant moms will suffer from pre-eclampsia, a disease that can endanger the lives of both mother and child.


Canada.com reports that researchers from the University of Edmonton have discovered a "metabolic fingerprint" in a woman's blood that can detect 90 percent of the women who will develop pre-eclampsia while pregnant. The symptoms of the condition are high blood pressure and high protein levels in urine.

"One, if not the biggest, problem for me as an obstetrician is pre-eclampsia," Dr. Phillip Baker, dean of the University of Alberta's faculty of medicine and dentistry, tells the website.

Also a practicing obstetrician at the Royal Alexandria Hospital, Baker adds that what's been lacking -- until now -- is a way to predict which moms-to-be will get pre-eclampsia. Now, researchers say, they have identified a blood test that could be administered as early as the 15th week of pregnancy, in order to better treat women who test positive.
While there is no cure for the disorder -- except for delivering the child prematurely, which can endanger the baby's life -- being able to identify moms who are at risk could have an "enormous" impact on health care costs, Louis Kenny, a principal investigator on the study, tells Canada.com.

Once know as toxemia, pre-eclampsia causes between 80,000 and 100,000 deaths per year. Michelle Duggar, famous mom of 19, suffered from it while pregnant with her youngest child, Josie. The baby was delivered via emergency C-section on Dec. 10, 2009, 15 weeks early, due to Duggar's pre-eclampsia.

Related: Father's Involvement During Pregnancy Found to be Critical to Infant's Survival

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