Pregancy research project launched

A major Irish-led research programme that aims to revolutionise maternal and foetal healthcare through a significantly more personalised treatment approach has just been launched.

The EU-funded initiative focuses on the life-threatening complications associated with pre-eclampsia, a common late-stage pregnancy condition.

The IMPROvED (IMproved PRegnancy Outcomes by Early Detection) project involves the use of novel biomarkers to develop a simple, sensitive blood test for pre-eclampsia.

The international consortium of obstetric clinicians and scientists involved in the project is led by Louise Kenny, professor of obstetrics, University College Cork, director of the Irish Centre for Foetal and Neonatal Translational Research (Infant), Cork and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, University Maternity Hospital.


The study will be conducted with the help and participation of first-time pregnant women recruited in major obstetric centres across five European countries.

Pre-eclampsia is the current leading cause of maternal death in Europe and the cause of 70,000-80,000 maternal deaths worldwide annually (and more than 500,000 infant deaths).

'Excellent hands'
Prof Louise Kenny said: "Our goal is to save the lives of affected mums and babies by reducing and eventually preventing the life-threatening complications associated with pre-eclampsia.

“Mums-to-be can be confident that they are in excellent hands as all participating obstetric recruitment centres [including UCC] have well-established track records and outstanding reputations for the research and management of pre-eclampsia.”

First-time mothers who are interested in participating in the IMPROvED programme are asked to contact 021-4205026 or email

Michelle McDonagh

Michelle McDonagh

Michelle McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health and family