07th September 2021

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy or soon after their baby is delivered. Without treatment, pre-eclampsia could lead to a number of serious conditions, including high blood pressure, fits (eclampsia), organ failure and stroke. In some cases these complications can be fatal to the mother and the unborn child.

According to the NHS, mild pre-eclampsia affects up to 6% of pregnancies, with severe cases developing in 1 to 2%.

Currently, thousands of women stay in hospital for more than 3 days being monitored for pre-eclampsia. However, the NHS have developed a test that can provide results on the same day.

Women who show symptoms such as high blood pressure, headache, and protein in the urine will have a sample of blood taken in which doctors will look for a protein called placental growth factor (PLGF). If PLGF levels are high, they are unlikely to have pre-eclampsis and they can return home. If PLGF levels are low, further tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis and any necessary treatment initiated.

The NHS will be rolling out the new test to speed up diagnosis and reassure soon-to-be mothers. This will come as relief to not only the mothers who won’t have to stay in hospital for longer than needed but also lessen the burden on healthcare services.

Three quarters of maternity units in England are now using the test, in the hopes that the test will become available nationwide within two years.

To read more about this, visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2021/08/life-saving-world-first-nhs-test-for-pregnant-women/