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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 01:35 GMT
Pregnancy illness probe backing
Pregnant woman
Pre-eclampsia can threaten both mother and child
Measures to tackle a potentially deadly childbirth disease have received support from a Scottish health expert.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers said early assessment could help to better protect mothers and their babies.

Professor Ian Greer, from Glasgow University, has warned against complacency when facing pre-eclampsia.

The condition, which affects about 7% of pregnancies, can threaten the lives of both the mother and baby.

Suggestions on how to deal with it have been drawn up by a team at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, who found that many deaths from the complication were linked to poor standards of care and slow detection rates.

We need to ensure that antenatal education makes women aware of the symptoms
Professor Ian Greer
Glasgow University

The illness, involving abnormally high blood pressure and blood poisoning in the second half of pregnancy, is one of the leading causes of death among mothers and babies.

Experts have discovered risks are increased by certain antibodies and diabetes. A mother's age and raised blood pressure can increase the danger "significantly".

Prof Greer, of the university's medical school, said: "Pre-eclampsia matters. The new risk assessment will effectively offer women a suitable surveillance routine to detect pre-eclampsia.

"Clinicians currently spend a great deal of time and energy screening for problems in pregnancy - for example, syphilis and Down's Syndrome - that have a much lower incidence than pre-eclampsia.

Chlamydia 'link'

"We need to ensure that antenatal education makes women aware of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and the importance of regular assessment."

An Imperial College team said last month that women who had pre-eclampsia had higher levels of antibodies to chlamydia pneumoniae.

The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology study said the infection could play a role in pre-eclampsia.

A team of researchers at Glasgow University began a two-year study in 2003, funded by the British Heart Foundation, into links between pre-eclampsia and heart disease.

Researchers were given 67,000 to examine a possible relationship in pre-eclampsia between tissue fragments from blood vessel cells and an over-active blood clotting system.




SEE ALSO:
Infection link to pre-eclampsia
28 Feb 05 |  Health
Rare pregnancy diseases studied
12 Feb 05 |  Health
Body fat link to pre-eclampsia
21 Apr 04 |  Health


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