Two placenta-related markers could reveal older women’s risk of serious pregnancy problems such as stillbirth and premature or very small babies, British researchers say.
They analyzed blood samples and medical data from 527 pregnant U.K. women, including 158 in their 20s; 212 in their 30s; and 157 in their 40s.
The study found that levels of placental growth factor and antioxidant capacity could help predict pregnancy risks in women 35 and older. Having a baby later in life has long been associated with increased risk.
“We already know the changes in oxidative stress and inflammation we saw in this study are associated with many pregnancy complications — but for the first time here, we found they were also present in older mothers, which could be damaging the placenta and might explain why older mothers face these higher risks,” lead author Alex Heazell, a professor of obstetrics at the University of Manchester shares.
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What is placental growth?
Placental growth factor is a protein produced in the placenta when it’s working well. Antioxidant capacity can show if cells in the placenta are inflamed or deteriorating.
Placental growth factor was 74% accurate in predicting serious pregnancy problems and