Hundreds of babies could be saved each year from deadly pre-eclampsia by a new 15-minute blood test.

Researchers have found that testing a protein level in pregnant women before 35 weeks is highly accurate at identifying those at risk.

Pre-eclampsia is a severe type of high blood pressure in pregnancy that is potentially fatal for the mother and baby. The only solution is to deliver the baby surgically.

The new test identifies 96 per cent of women who will need to deliver within the next 14 days, according to a study of 625 mothers-to-be.

Currently diagnose is made through high blood pressure and the presence of a protein called placental growth factor (PLGF) in the urine. However, both of these signs can be unreliable and can take days to confirm – putting women and babies in urgent need of treatment in further danger.

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