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Join our study: Using precision medicine for the prediction and prevention of early preeclampsia in Ontario


Preeclampsia is a specific complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure. It may also involve other organs, such as the liver and/or kidneys. Preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for both mom and baby.

You can participate in this study if you are pregnant and:

  • Over the age of 18 years
  • Between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy and having an ultrasound for first trimester screening
  • Planning to deliver at Sunnybrook

How do I know if I’m at high risk for preeclampsia?

It’s now possible to estimate the risk of developing early preeclampsia as early as the 11th week of pregnancy. This test can be done at the same time as your routine 11 to 14 week ultrasound. The test involves the following:
  • Measurement of your blood pressure
  • Ultrasound measurement of the blood flow of your uterine arteries
  • Collection of some medical information

Sunnybrook is one of the first hospitals in Canada to initiate this new screening and prevention program.

What is the treatment for preeclampsia?

The best treatment is delivery but when preeclampsia occurs too early in pregnancy, high blood pressure can be treated with medications. Unfortunately, medications do not always work and preterm delivery is the only option to decrease severe complications affecting maternal health. However, this may have a severe impact on the health of your baby.

What causes preeclampsia?

The exact cause is unknown but there is good evidence that the placenta contributes to the development of preeclampsia. For more information, please visit this website.

Is there a way to prevent preeclampsia?

International research has shown that low dose aspirin, an inexpensive and safe medication, started in the second trimester, can considerably reduce the occurrence of preeclampsia in women at high risk for the condition.

Why is this study necessary?

Before expanding the screening program to all Ontarians, we need to start in experienced centres such as Sunnybrook to understand how to incorporate this test into current practice.

If you are interested in joining this study, ask at the front desk on M-4. You may also email prevention.SHSC@sunnybrook.ca.