Objective risk information motivates preeclampsia prevention among pregnant patients

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A new study in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth finds that objective information about risk of preeclampsia could be key to driving patient behavior change and creates motivation among pregnant patients to follow provider recommendations on prevention, even among those who are medication-hesitant.

Key findings include:

  • 91% of the study participants desired predictive testing for preeclampsia
  • 94% reported they would want blood pressure monitoring at home if found to be at high risk 
  • 88% reported they would be more motivated to follow their provider's medication recommendations if at high risk. This finding was consistent even for individuals who were hesitant to take medication at baseline

Preeclampsia - a condition that manifests as high blood pressure which impacts 8% of pregnancies - is often silent until symptoms develop and requires emergency intervention, including the need for preterm delivery. Currently, there is no way to predict who is most at-risk for developing complications like preeclampsia early in pregnancy. Women who experience preeclampsia during pregnancy are atincreased risk for heart disease, stroke, and premature death, and children who are born preterm are at increased risk for numerous challenges across their lifespan. While there are medications like baby aspirin that have been shown to lower the risk of preeclampsia for high-risk individuals, reluctance to take aspirin remains a barrier.

Evidence from other medical fields suggests that when patients know their personalized risk, they act on that information. This study translates insights from cardiology and personalized information on risk of heart disease to obstetrics for the first time. Patients are telling us that if they had objective testing to predict their risk of preeclampsia, it would meaningfully change the way they manage their pregnancies." 

Dr. Alison Cowan, FACOG, Head of Medical Affairs at Mirvie and lead author of the study

While the present study focuses on the hypothetical availability of an objective test to predict preeclampsia, such testing for preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications could soon be available. 

"Mirvie's RNA platform focuses on the prediction of pregnancy complications, which is at the leading edge of what's possible - addressing a huge unmet need in maternal health. Being able to predict who is at highest risk of pregnancy complications presents a massive opportunity for patients to do everything possible to prevent preeclampsia. And for physicians, it's an important reminder that the toolbox isn't empty when working with patients on prevention - especially if we can objectively identify who is at highest risk early in the pregnancy," said Cowan. 

Mirvie enabled leading researchers and patient advocates to publish the first-ever actionable, evidence-based care plan for preeclampsia, which will translate prediction of risk into prevention of disease. Recommendations include daily aspirin, blood pressure monitoring at home, and lifestyle shifts focused on diet, exercise, and sleep. 


The study gleaned insights from a digital survey of 1,022 pregnant and recently delivered individuals on sentiments surrounding pregnancy care, knowledge about pregnancy complications, and their anticipated behavior change resulting from predictive testing for complications. 

Journal reference:

Cowan, A., et al. (2024) Impact of early preeclampsia prediction on medication adherence and behavior change: a survey of pregnant and recently-delivered individuals. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. doi.org/10.1186/s12884-024-06397-z.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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