Exploring potential use of new retinal biomarkers for early detection of pregnancy complications.

All about the I-test pregnancy study.

This study aims to further our understanding of why some babies are stillborn and help us identify new tests that we can offer people in pregnancy to identify babies that might be at risk. Every year, around the world, more than two million babies are stillborn and in many of these cases no clear cause is identified. Our current monitoring looks at pregnant women and babies’ health using blood tests, blood pressure and ultrasound scans during pregnancy but we know this does not provide a complete picture.

In pregnancy there are changes in the structure and function of blood vessels throughout the body. These blood vessel changes may lead to complications such as pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure and stillbirth. Looking at what is happening to the blood vessels at the back of the eye can help us know what is happening to blood vessels in the rest of the body. This is a simple, quick and non-invasive test that you may have previously had during a visit to the optician.

The purpose of the study is to find out whether monitoring changes in the eye’s blood vessels during pregnancy could be a new way of identifying those at risk of pregnancy complications.

The study is recruiting participants at different stages in pregnancy:

  • Longitudinal cohort: 12 or 20 weeks of pregnancy (+/- 3 weeks)
  • Cross-sectional cohort: 36 weeks of pregnancy (=/- 3 weeks)

For more information please see the Participant Information Sheets below:

I-test Longitudinal cohort (12 or 20 weeks pregnant) (562.7 KB / PDF)

I-test Cross-sectional cohort (36 weeks pregnant) (562.59 KB / PDF)

You will be invited to attend either one or two eye scans at the Queen's Medical Research Institute, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The eye scans are non-invasive, painless and take around 20-30 minutes.

After one of the scans you will be asked to provide a blood sample.

The study visit will take around an hour and you will be reimbursed for your time with a £20 voucher on completion of the final visit.