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New test reveals risks for pregnant women

TT/The Local · 7 Apr 2010, 08:38

Published: 07 Apr 2010 08:38 GMT+02:00

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The simple urine test can uncover the risks faced by pregnant women for contracting the condition as early as during week 14 of a pregnancy, the Svenska Dagbladet daily reports.

Researchers at the biomedical centre at Lund University Medical Faculty have identified two substances - foetal haemoglobin and Alpha-1 microglobulin - which can be measured in the blood several months before the first symptoms emerge.

The method has been tested in blind studies on 96 English women with genetic tendencies towards a high risk for toxaemia. The Lund researchers were able to establish with a 90 percent certainty which of the women would suffer from the condition.

The researchers have also developed a possible treatment for the illness.

The Alpha-1 protein, which is used by the body to protect against injury, can also be used to treat the sick women, preliminary tests have shown. When injected into the the placenta all traces of toxaemia were found to have disappeared.

Story continues below…

Pregnancy toxaemia or pre-eclampsia is a condition which affects around two percent of pregnant women in Sweden. The condition is accompanied by high blood pressure and protein in the urine and can harm the transfer of nutrients from the placenta to the unborn child, causing stunted growth.

More serious cases can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral haemorrhaging, several other serious conditions and even death, but that is very rare in Sweden due to regular pre-natal checks.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:33 April 7, 2010 by JulieLou40
I had pre-eclampsia before my son was born, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. We ended up with an emergency c-section. Nightmare. I'm intending to have another baby once I'm settled in Sweden. Can anyone tell me what tests they do here to check for any chromosome abnormalities? (I am 40 yrs old). I hear there is a more simple test than the old amniocentesis here in the UK, but not sure if they have this test in Sweden. It's apparently a simply blood test.

14:19 April 7, 2010 by LailaC1
You don't have to have the amniocentesis in the UK anymore either - there is a simple blood test you can have but you need to do it before you reach 20 weeks.
15:10 April 7, 2010 by Puffin
I had pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and ended up in intensive care following DD1 so better diagnosis is a good thing

The blood tests such as the triple test don't actually tell you if there is a chromosone abnormality - they give you a risk factor - those who have a high risk factor are offered amnicentesis - although they give a lot of false positives as anything up to one chance in 250 is regarded as 'high risk' whereas 249 will not have an abnormality. I have a relative in the UK who was preganant at 43 who refused an amnio following 'high risk' blood results when she found out her risk factor was around 1:240 whereas the miscarriage risk for the amnio was 1:100

The more modern test that is given in some areas is a nuchal fold ultrasound scan which can be done at around 11-13 weeks and again gives you a risk factor for downs syndrome - however not all health authorities have this test yet
20:26 April 7, 2010 by JulieLou40
Thanks everyone. I will see what happens if I am lucky enough to fall pregnant :-)
06:37 April 8, 2010 by DMatni
I'm not sure how widespread the practice to conduct a nuchal fold ultraosund scan in Sweden is although they do offer it in my area (Örebro). It's called KUB-test here and is usually done at around 13 weeks although I had to book the test myself since it is an optional test which was easily done online. From what I know, this test was introduced quite recently as in the past 2 or so years only so (it wasn't offered to my sis in law who gave birth 3 years ago) it may not be offered in all kommun in Sweden. Good luck, JulieLou!
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