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Home Industry News Placenta studies pressed

Placenta studies pressed

19th November 2007

More funding should be given to studies of the placenta in order to advance medical research towards reducing stillbirth numbers, it has been suggested.

A review of literature in today’s Lancet on stillbirths, which involve fetal deaths in pregnancy at or after 22 weeks of gestation, concludes that next to no progress has been made in the last 40 years.

It points out that the primary screening method for low-risk women is measuring the height of the uterus with a tape measure. Scanning women in the final three months of pregnancy has failed to show consistency.

As a result Professor Gordon Smith of Cambridge University, who conducted the review, has warned that a likely factor influencing stillbirth deaths is the placenta.

“Addressing the lack of funding in these areas will be an essential first step to reducing the burden on this devastating and surprisingly common complication of pregnancy,” he writes.

Stillbirth occurs in one in 200 pregnancies and is the most common cause of death in a potentially viable baby. In England and Wales, rates have remained unchanged in recent years.

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