What are pregnancy and newborn complications?

More than 4,000 Australian babies born each year are at significant risk of poor outcomes and life-long disability due to pregnancy and birth complications. Sometimes conditions the mother had before she became pregnant can lead to complications during pregnancy. Some complications occur during delivery.

What causes pregnancy and newborn complications?

Complications during pregnancy, or existing complications, can place both mother and baby at risk of death and long-term disability. The most common complications of pregnancy include preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure. Other factors that may increase the risk for negative impacts on the baby include being pregnant at a young age or over age 35, illegal drug use, drinking alcohol, or a history of pregnancy loss or preterm birth. These factors can have negative effects on the baby and can result in babies being born too soon, too small or deprived of oxygen at birth. These babies are at high risk of developing a brain injury.

What pregnancy and newborn research is being done at UQCCR?

At UQCCR and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital we are using state-of-the-art techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalograph (EEG) to better understand development of the brain and detect brain injury in these vulnerable newborns. We are exploring treatment options such as stem cells sourced from the placenta, repurposed drugs, as well as novel targeted therapeutics. To improve brain outcomes and advance medical care, research is critical for the development of treatments to protect the brain, giving every newborn the chance to achieve their potential.