According to a recent article on the BBC website, NHS Wales have started PLGF testing, which is already available in England, for those women showing symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
What is pre-eclampsia?
The exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not known. However, it is a condition that affects up to 6% of expectant mothers, usually in the second half of their pregnancy or even after their baby has been born. Although most cases are mild, it can cause serious complications if left untreated. The only way to cure this condition is to deliver the baby, therefore, regular monitoring must take place until it’s possible for the baby to be delivered.
According to the NHS, early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure and protein in your urine. However, further symptoms can include the following:
- Severe headache
- Vision problems
- Pain just below the ribs
- Sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet.
Women most at risk are those with diabetes, high blood pressure, aged over 40, or who already have a history of the condition.
What is PLGF testing?
PLGF is a blood test that takes place in the second or third trimester and could speed up the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Therefore, reducing the chance of serious complications from 5.3% of women who had the usual checks to 3.8% who were diagnosed using the PLGF tests.
Roll out of PLGF testing in Wales
According to the BBC report, 4,030 women in Wales have been officially diagnosed with pre-eclampsia since 2015. However, there are fears that the figure could actually be higher due to late diagnosis in some women.
Dr Angharad Care, Leading Obstetrician, said:
“It makes such a difference to pregnant women and their risk of pre-eclampsia. We know that PLGF testing has proven to be successful and actually reduces adverse maternal outcomes.”
She also went on to say how important the testing is for the women who don’t show any of the usual symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
Marcus Green, CEO of Action on Pre-eclampsia praised the Welsh Government’s decision to introduce the new testing, and stated:
“This will enable care to be delivered where it should be, to those who need it most and will provide assurance to women who haven’t got pre-eclampsia… It will also save lives of mothers and babies and save the NHS money”.