This health video looks at the new ways to be able to predict the common pregnancy complication Preeclampsia.
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Jennifer Mathews: Janel Hemrick loves being a mom to little Clara. Janel Hemrick: She's full of energy into everything and is very active. Jennifer Mathews: Clara is Janel's second child. During her first pregnancy, she developed preeclampsia. Janel Hemrick: I remember that my blood pressure was 200 over 100. Jennifer Mathews: At 26 weeks, she gave birth to Myles. He lived just 20 days. Janel Hemrick: There's always going to be that time that you wonder, what if they could have done something else? What if they would have known sooner? Could I have done something different, and would Myles still be here? Jennifer Mathews: Preeclampsia is a dangerous complication of pregnancy. Women develop high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine. It can turn into eclampsia, which could lead to seizures. Dr. Baha Sibai: This has been a frustrating condition for 2000 years now. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Baha Sibai co-authored a study on risk factors for preeclampsia. High levels of a toxic molecule called SFLT-1 were found in the blood. That led to reduced levels of two growth factors, which are vital for a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Baha Sibai: They are abnormal way before the patient develops the signs and symptoms. Jennifer Mathews: A urine dip stick test could potentially be used to check for these risk factors. Dr. Baha Sibai: Developing something like this would have great implications because it has to be simple and easy to use. Jennifer Mathews: Now, the only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby early. Preventing it altogether is the new goal. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.