Researchers in the UK measured the urine in 154 high risk pregnant women at 20 weeks and were able to predict preeclampsia with 92% accuracy.
Preeclampsia is a severe condition that affects about 5% of pregnancies. We know there are risk factors for preeclampsia, which is characterized by high levels of protein in the urine, but many aspects of this illness are still a mystery.
The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Otherwise, the illness progresses and can be fatal if totally ignored. Preeclampsia tends to develop later in pregnancy, but sometimes it can occur before term leading to premature births.
“Our study suggests that changes in levels of certain proteins in the urine early in pregnancy can predict who will develop pre-eclampsia,” said lead author of the study Matt Hall, MBChB of the University of Leicester, UK. “Early identification will allow focused monitoring of those women and timely delivery of their babies, as well as reassurance for women at low risk.”
As far as we know, there’s no way to prevent preeclampsia– though there is some evidence that vitamin D plays a role. Research has shown that good prenatal care and close monitoring of women with risk factors for preecclampsia is important for the health of mother and baby. Getting information about the possibility of preeclampsia as soon as 20 weeks can help doctors and midwives better serve pregnant women at risk.
photo: Daquella Manera/Flickr