Almost half of pregnant women experience complications that increase their risk of maternal mortality and perinatal morbidity. When complications are identified early, treatment can reduce the risk of premature delivery and maternal fatalities. Studies indicate that early administration of therapeutic agents, particularly for preeclampsia, reduces the risk of severe complications during labor and delivery by up to 95 percent and decreases incidence of premature births. Fetal health screens, however, have a sensitivity of less than 25 percent before the 16th week, preventing early detection.
A new screening tool identifies pregnancies at risk of disease or prematurity at as early as 12 weeks. The test measures Doppler blood flow velocities to assess coherence between maternal and fetal blood flow, an indicator of various disease states. This enables first trimester detection of fetal and maternal health concerns and allows effective, preventive treatments to start early in the second trimester.