First time mothers needed for pre-eclampsia study

Leicester researchers are looking at why women who suffer from a dangerous condition during pregnancy are at greater risk of stroke or heart disease in later life.

First time mums are being asked to take part in a study which could potentially save lives and help doctors understand more about the long-term effects of pre-eclampsia on mums’ hearts.

The work is being carried out by the NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) at Glenfield Hospital, which is a partnership between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The team is hoping to recruit first time mums between 18 and 40 years of age, who had a baby 12 to 18 months ago.

They want a mixture of women who had pre-eclampsia and also women who did not in a bid to find out whether the condition, that affects about 4 per cent of pregnant women in the UK, is directly linked to heart problems in later life. 

Professor Philip Baker, who is Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology at our University, said: “We already know that women who suffer from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are at greater risk of stroke or heart disease in later life, but we don’t know why.

“We want to use this study to find out whether it’s the pre-eclampsia that increases their risk, or whether risk factors such as family history and obesity cause both pre-eclampsia and heart disease at different points in a woman’s life.

“By identifying women who have had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, we may be able to recognise and screen women at risk of heart disease earlier in life, giving us an opportunity to start preventative treatment a long time before these problems occur. This could benefit a huge number of women all around the world.”