Detecting the High-Risk Fetus in the Low-Risk Mother and Its Implications

Session Date: April 21, 2021

Session Description: Identifying the high-risk fetus in the low risk mother (LRM) is a neglected area of research. Fetal growth restriction (FGR), defined as failure to reach the full genetic growth potential, is a major cause of stillbirth, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and is also very poorly detected. UmbiflowTM is an inexpensive continuous wave Doppler (CWD) apparatus that is suitable for use by all health care providers for screening low-risk pregnant populations. It can easily detect umbilical artery blood flow in the placenta, which correlates well with placental function. The session will detail the use of CWD ultrasound in LRM and report on its ability to detect FGR and by so doing prevent stillbirths and predict stunting and poor infant neurodevelopment, poor child cognitive ability and markers suggestive of poor cardiovascular function later in life. Screening with CWD ultrasound in a LRM opens the door to a step change in preventing stillbirths and a means of identifying fetuses at risk of suboptimal growth and adult diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke. This will allow for appropriate interventions to be developed and implemented when it matters, i.e. in the first 1000 days.