The PHOENIX Study are looking for women who have been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia to take part in research.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that can affect some women during their pregnancy. It can have an impact on how your heart, kidneys and liver work and in turn affect the growth of the baby. The regular checks that we do during pregnancy (monitoring blood pressure and checking the urine for protein) are to see if pre-eclampsia is developing. We then do further checks if we have concerns with these, such as blood tests and looking at your baby’s growth. These tests are repeated as necessary to monitor you.

We know that if a woman has been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when she is 37 weeks or more, the best option for both her and the baby is for the baby to be born as soon as possible. And we know that if pre-eclampsia has been diagnosed before 34 weeks of pregnancy has been reached, it is best for the baby if the pre-eclampsia can be monitored and kept stable enough to continue with the pregnancy. At the moment women who are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia before 37 weeks need very close monitoring, either in hospital or as an outpatient, because the condition can be difficult to predict. Here we would regularly check all the signs mentioned above, such as blood pressure, urine, bloods and growth of the baby to make sure your condition remains stable.  Some women will remain relatively well and will not need to have their baby early. Whilst for others the pre-eclampsia can progress more quickly making early birth of the baby necessary.

Our understanding of the condition has improved over the last few decades but we still need to know more and the best way to do this is by doing research.

We are looking for women who have been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia to take part in the PHOENIX Study. This is a study run by Professors Andrew Shennan and Lucy Chappell who are both Consultant Obstetricians at St Thomas’ Hospital, London and involved with APEC.

The PHOENIX study is designed to compare early (pre-term) birth and the current care of close monitoring and delivering the baby at or near 37 weeks to see which is best for mum and for baby. Which of these two groups you go into is decided by chance, like flipping a coin, so you won’t know whether you will be part of the early delivery group (starting the processing of having your baby within 2 days of taking part in the study) or part of the “control” group (watching and waiting, as is standard care now) before consenting.

We already have nearly 600 women taking part in the study and need to reach 900 to best answer our question. The study is open at 47 hospitals across the UK, so please ask your midwife if your hospital is one of them or have a look at the following link to see if your hospital is involved.

Thanks for reading, and very best of luck with your pregnancy.