A healthy successful pregnancy requires that multiple intricate processes occur both in the mother and the baby in the correct order to ensure normal growth and development of the baby from conception through to birth.
PRaMM researchers are actively engaged in research projects that aim to fully understand the normal progression of pregnancy. This will form the foundation for identifying problems during pregnancy and finding solutions when problems occur.
Some of the current projects include:
• Identifying biomarkers that can predict IUGR (intra uterine growth retardation) or the onset of disease such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, each of which have severe side effects on fetal development. By predicting these, a pregnancy can be managed to limit the detrimental effects of these conditions on fetal growth.
• Determining how the placenta, the organ required for fetal nutrition develops and what goes wrong in conditions such as IUGR and preeclampsia.
• Identifying the adaptations that occur in the mother’s immune system that allows a genetically different fetus to develop inside her without rejection. Also to determine whether these changes do not occur in conditions such as recurrent pregnancy loss.
• Determining the mechanisms involved in controlling blood vessel growth and formation in pregnancy. By understanding these mechanisms we can determine which ones go wrong in abnormal pregnancies and develop strategies to prevent them from failing.
• Investigating the prevalence and trends, risk factors and health outcomes associated with infants born with congenital anomalies. Studies include an investigation of maternal health and genetic risk factors that may be associated with male reproductive anomalies; and investigating the health status, outcomes and health service utilisation of infants with anomalies undergoing surgery in early childhood.