Pre-eclampsia is a disease that causes high blood pressure in 20th week of Pregnancy and is a major cause of death of mother and infant in the world. Now a simple test that measures HLA-G levels in blood can predict women who are likely to develop the problem.
Researchers in Canada may have discovered this simple blood test. "We're really excited about this finding," said Clifford Librach, a researcher from Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre. In Toronto "I think it's really an advance in this area and something we hope will prevent this disease."
He further said: "This allows us to be more vigilant and see the woman more often and pick up the problem early enough that it doesn't become a more serious problem for mother and baby."
Pre-eclampsia kills over 20'000 expectant mothers worldwide every year. Pre-eclampsia is unpredictable and can appear suddenly in about one in 12 pregnancies. The blood pressure shoots up in the mothers-to-be and can cause seizures or fits, stroke and kidney related complications. This can result in stillbirth or fetal distress. The condition accounts for more than 15% of all premature births.
Currently there is no test available. "This allows us to be more vigilant and see the woman more often and pick up the problem early enough that it doesn't become a more serious problem for mom and baby," said Librach.
Scientists now believe that they have tracked down the cause of the disease and found this to be a molecule secreted by the placenta. The molecule is called 'HLA-G molecule ' and is a protective substance that helps in preventing the mother's body to reject the unborn child.
Prof Shennan, a Professor of obstetrics at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London, added: "This is an important development because it helps to identify which part of the immune system is involved in pre-eclampsia. We've always known that immunology has been important and it is thought the mother has to produce something to stop her body attacking the placenta. The finding that HLA-G levels are lower in those women who are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia suggests it is involved in that mechanism."
Further Information on Pregnancy from Medindia
Welcome to the world of eminent parenthood. Pregnancy is the state of union between a sperm and an ovum in the uterus, the formation of a fetus that is nurtured in the mother's womb. Pregnancy covers the entire time frame of 40 weeks; from the minute the fetus is conceived to the moment of the birth.
Being pregnant is a totally different feeling for the would-be mothers, whether they are first time pregnant or having a second, third, and fourth child. The changes are apparent not only in the body physically, but in the emotional well being as well. The hormones that cause the physiological changes in the body are also responsible for emotional changes that happen to a pregnant woman.