Soon, genetic test to identify pregnancy risks

May 12th, 2009 - 1:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 12 (ANI): A team of Australian scientists is developing a genetic test to identify pregnancies at risk of complications before symptoms arise.

The research team, led by Associate Professor Claire Roberts, Senior Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide’s new Robinson Institute, has identified subtle variations in specific genes within the mother, father or baby that indicate the mother is more likely to suffer from pregnancy complications.

This advance will permit tailored, and sometimes potentially life-saving, antenatal care and constitutes a quantum leap forward in the care of pregnant women and their babies.

The research has also identified potential therapies for use in early pregnancy to improve placental development and function and reduce the risk from pregnancy complications.

“Our findings show that it does actually take two for successful pregnancy. Pregnancy success is determined by a complex interaction of maternal, paternal and environmental characteristics that together dictate how well the placenta develops and functions and how the mother adapts to pregnancy,” Roberts said.

“Defects in how well the placenta develops and functions are implicated in common pregnancy complications ranging from miscarriage, through preeclampsia, pre-term birth and fetal growth restriction. The problem with complications is that we are unable to predict which women are at risk until symptoms develop, and then therapies can be too little, too late,” Roberts added. (ANI)

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