New Test for Pre-Eclampsia

Published on: 03/04/2019

The NHS is set to roll out a new test for pregnant women to diagnose pre-eclampsia in half the time compared to current tests.
Normally pre-eclampsia is diagnosed following blood pressure and urine checks over a period of a few days, during which time the risks to mother and baby are increasing. A study published in The Lancet showed that the new test decreased diagnosis time from 4.1 days down to 1.9 days and that early diagnosis can significantly reduce the life threatening complications of pre-eclampsia. The new blood test determines the circulating concentration of placental growth factor (PlGF).

Pre-eclampsia affects around one in ten pregnancies. It is not apparent how or why it happens, but ultimately, the only cure is for a baby to be delivered. Pre-eclampsia may be written down in antenatal notes as “PET” which is shorthand for Pre-Eclamptic Toxaemia.
PET often starts with a bit of high blood pressure or sometimes with some protein in urine tests that the midwives do at each appointment. It can sometimes be easily controlled with medication so that a baby can be allowed to grow and develop more.

Symptoms of Pre-Eclampsia that should never be ignored are:

> Obvious swelling, especially affecting the hands, face or upper body.
> Severe headache that wont go away, sometimes with vomiting.
> Problems with vision (blurring, flashing, lights or spots, difficulty in focussing.)
> Severe pain just below the ribs in the middle of your abdomen.

Vikki contacted us following suffering from severed pre-eclampsia. She said:

“I phoned and attended my maternity unit for advice as I had a persistent headache and swelling. I remembered seeing these signs to call the maternity unit immediately on my wallet so I did, was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and was in hospital for around 2 weeks. I ended up having an emergency c-section and my baby arrived 8 weeks early. Originally I thought nothing of these signs and thought I’d be okay till my next appointment but the advice on the wallet really helped me and saved me from a possibly worse situation.”

If your hospital does not yet supply our Wellbeing Wallets, find out more and get yours here. Our wallets help to empower pregnant women with the knowledge of the key symptoms that need to get checked out without delay and help to give the confidence to make that call if needed.