Advances in our understanding of pregnancy, birth and the new born period mean that for many in Australia there has never been a safer time to have a baby.
For some mothers, existing treatments and therapies are not sufficient to safeguard them against complications such as preeclampsia or the risk of pre-term birth. It is new therapies that are required to successfully prevent and treat such conditions.
Many will find it surprising that we do not actually know what causes pre-eclampsia or labour to start weeks sometimes months early. Our PRAMM researchers are investigating new therapies for these conditions. In the case of pre-eclampsia, the researchers are interested in assessing the potential role of powerful anti-inflammatory medications to suppress what they suspect is a over exuberant maternal inflammatory response to the presence of a growing baby.
Another unexpected but exciting possibility is that the immune mechanisms that allow a mother to successfully harbour the growth of her baby can give new insights to treatments for immune conditions. As such, our scientists have discovered a potential new treatment for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis based on observations that this condition often improves in pregnancy.