New Zealand women are taking part in a ground-breaking trial to find out who could be at risk from the potentially deadly pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia usually occurs late in pregnancy and causes high blood pressure. It can be fatal if not treated urgently.
Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research Obstetrics Professor Louise Kenny is leading the research, which involves six countries.
She told the Sunday Morning programme the study had identified factors in the blood which could indicate early in pregnancy whether a woman was at risk.
"We treat every new breakthrough with caution but we are quite optimistic that we'll have a test very soon that will help in some way to predict risk in early pregnancy," Prof Kenny said.
Data from New Zealand women has already been used to help find the pointers in the blood and they will be among those tested to see whether the researchers are right.