Can a late pregnancy screening test reduce the risk of fetal distress in labour?

Can a late pregnancy screening test reduce the risk of fetal distress in labour?

We're inviting you to participate in a research study to find out...... 

Fetal distress can occur when a baby does not receive enough oxygen during labour. This can be a reason why some babies need emergency delivery by caesarean section, forceps or vacuum. Fetal distress during labour can be associated with poor fetal outcome, even in healthy pregnancies.

If you are eligible and choose to participate in our study you will be randomised to either the 'screening test' group or the 'no screening test' group.

What does the screening test involve?

If you are assigned to the 'screening test' group you will have the following at 37-38 weeks:

  • An ultrasound scan to measure the ratio of blood flow in baby's brain to the umbilical cord called the cerebroplacental ratio (CPR); and
  • A blood test to measure placental growth factor (PIGF) levels in your blood.

If the CPR and/or PIGF levels are found not to be low (as is more common in pregnancies uncomplicated by fetal distress) this is considered a 'negative' screening test and you will receive normal care for the rest of your pregnancy and labour.

If both the CPR and PIGF levels are low this considered a 'positive' screening test and a doctor in our study will discuss this result with you. As the purpose of the screening test is to identify babies at risk of fetal distress they will recommend inducing your labour within the next 7 days.

Who can I contact for more information about the study?

Professor Sailesh Kumar or Dr Helen Sherrell

Email: [email protected]


Research Midwife

Email: [email protected]

Ph: (07) 3163 7919



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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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