A new test to easily diagnose preeclampsia earlier in pregnancy is being developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Preeclampsia is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects about one in 20. Both mom and baby are at risk and because the symptoms of the condition mirror regular normal pregnancy symptoms like swelling and headaches, it is pretty hard to diagnose. Often times, it isn’t caught until much later in a woman’s pregnancy.
The newly developed test uses a special red dye that reacts to unique proteins in the urine of pregnant women with preeclampsia.
This means, a mom-to-be can quickly and easily diagnosed for the condition during a prenatal visit.
“Without the certainty of this test, providers tend to be overcautious because this is definitely a condition that we can’t allow to go untreated,” said Dr. Kara Rood , lead author of the study and maternal-fetal medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “This test helps us to quickly provide care to women with preeclampsia, while avoiding unnecessary admissions or even early deliveries.”
Researchers expect the new rapid test to be FDA approved in the next few years so that OB/GYNs nationwide can use it to identify cases of preeclampsia.
“Giving birth is the only cure for preeclampsia, but it can develop as early as the second trimester,” Rood added. “The quicker we identify women with the condition, the better chance they have of carrying their babies to full term and having a healthy delivery.”
Dr. Rood hopes it will also be available at home for monitoring pregnancy complications more conveniently.