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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 31 May
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DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 31 May 2005
Pregnant woman

Full programme transcript >>

Pregnancy

Most women enjoy a healthy nine months of pregnancy, but for some it can be a medical ordeal and they may spend time in hospital.

In the first of the new series of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter reports on the latest medical treatments for conditions that make pregnancy a dangerous time for the mother or the baby.

Every pregnant woman's nightmare

As many as six per cent of babies in the UK are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

One of the reasons for this is a weak cervix which can begin to dilate too early, causing the baby to be born prematurely.

Claudia Hammond visits the Miscarriage Clinic at the Liverpool Women's Hospital to find out how a stitch to the cervix can offer hope to women suffering from this condition.

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a devastating condition that occurs in around four in one hundred pregnancies, and can result in the death of the mother or baby.

The only known cure is to deliver the baby, and around 15% of babies born prematurely are delivered because of pre-eclampsia.

Researchers are trying to find out what triggers this condition, which occurs when the placenta (the life support system for the unborn child) isn't working properly.

Mark finds out about one study which suggests that vitamins C and E could hold the key

Danger behind closed doors

Studies have shown that domestic violence against pregnant women poses a greater threat to the health of mother and baby than major complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Domestic violence often begins or gets worse during pregnancy and many women suffer miscarriages or still births as a result.

Mark meets Obstetrician Dr Susan Bewley to discuss her research on domestic violence during pregnancy, and finds out how health professionals can help protect women at risk.
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