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International recognition for pregnancy research

8 February 2017

Researchers from the HRB-funded Perinatal Ireland scoop two major honours at the word's most prestigious obstetric research meeting, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) annual clinical meeting in the USA.

Dr Daniel Galvin was awarded Best Oral Research Presentation in the field of Clinical Obstetrics at the meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The SMFM Meeting receives over 2000 research submissions every year from all over the world, with only 100 being selected for oral presentation during the week-long conference.

Dr Karen Flood, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Rotunda Hospital and RCSI, also, was honoured by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology during the meeting’s awards ceremony. Her paper, 'The role of brain sparing in the prediction of adverse outcomes in intrauterine growth restriction: results of the multicenter PORTO Study' was selected by the journal as one of its top cited papers in the last several years. 

Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board commented, 'If ever proof was needed of just how good Irish research and Irish researchers are on the world stage, this is it. Not only will Irish mothers and babies benefit from this research, but it will have global influence too. That's a good day at the office'.

Dr Galvin said of his award 'It is great to get recognition of the research that is being done in Ireland on the international stage and to see how Irish research is being used to change pregnancy management internationally. Further investment in research networks, such as Perinatal Ireland, should continue to improve pregnancy outcomes for women and babies'.

Dr Galvin presented on results from the Perinatal Ireland multicenter GENESIS study, which investigated methods of predicting in advance which women will have a straight-forward normal vaginal delivery or which will have a complicated labour. The team specifically focused on whether ultrasound measurement of fetal head circumference (FHC) in combination with other measurements from the mother can identify women who might need an unplanned caesarean section once labour has begun. Dr Galvin analysed the accuracy of prenatal ultrasound for predicting an above average birth weight, called fetal macrosomia, and found that the ultrasound’s accuracy is limited. He concluded that decisions to intervene in an otherwise normal pregnancy for suspected macrosomia predicted by ultrasound should be made cautiously and alternative prediction tools for adverse obstetric outcomes should be developed. He also demonstrated that whenever a patient has an ultrasound that suggests the baby is a large size, there is a significant risk of a range of adverse delivery outcomes, including emergency cesarean section, forceps delivery and difficult vaginal lacerations.

Dr Flood’s research examined the role of a method of Doppler ultrasound of the baby in the prediction of poor pregnancy outcome and found that it was significantly associated with poor outcome in these pregnancies.

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