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Risky pregnancies likely to reduce

health-and-fitness Updated: May 12, 2009 21:01 IST

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Researchers are developing the first genetic test to predict which pregnancies are most likely to develop complications, long before symptoms surface.

Led by Claire Roberts, associate professor at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute, researchers have identified variations in specific genes within the mother, father or baby that indicate the mother is more likely to suffer from pregnancy complications.

This advance will permit tailored, and sometimes potentially life-saving, antenatal care and constitutes a quantum leap forward in the care of pregnant women and their babies.

The research has also identified potential therapies for use in early pregnancy to improve placental development and function and reduce the risk from pregnancy complications, said a university release.

"Our findings show that it does actually take two for successful pregnancy," Roberts said, whose "success is determined by a complex interaction of maternal, paternal and environmental characteristics that together dictate how well the placenta develops".

Roberts presented these findings at the university's free public seminar series Tuesday.