Finding a Fingerprint for Preeclampsia

Pregnancy Health

A team of researchers from around the world has identified a “metabolic fingerprint” in pregnant women that accurately predicts who will later develop preeclampsia, a life threatening condition that can result in the death of mothers and their babies. Physicians and researchers in the field of obstetrics and gynecology have long searched for the causes of preeclampsia.

Principal investigator Philip N. Baker, M.D., dean of the faculty at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and fellow researchers from England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, are on the verge of developing a simple, inexpensive blood test that will accurately predict which women will develop preeclampsia at a later stage in their pregnancy. The simple test can be taken at 15 weeks gestation, early enough for preventive therapy with mothers to better protect them and their developing babies.

Preeclampsia can cause expectant mothers to be put on bed rest or be hospitalized. It can also contribute to premature births, resulting in the possibility of health and medical complications for mothers and their babies.

The researchers’ findings were recently published in the medical journal Hypertension.

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