Functional Imaging of the Human Placenta by MRI

The Pregnancy Research Group is conducting a study to learn more about the human placenta.

eIRB # 15196, PI: Antonio Frias, MD


Why is this study being done?

The research team at OHSU has developed a new and unique MRI method to assess your placenta in utero. You have the opportunity to participate in a study that will help doctors to use MRI as a tool to identify if women who are at-risk for pregnancy complications. This will allow for clinical care plans that can provide the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. OHSU is the only institution in the world doing these kinds of studies! 

Currently, the human placenta is one of the least understood organs of the body, however it plays a very important role in the health of the baby. Understanding placental development in both normal and abnormal pregnancies is vital in order to identify patients at risk for complications. Right now, doctors have limited understanding of placental function and development due to an inability to measure basic functional outputs such as blood flow and oxygenation (the addition of oxygen to the placenta). This study could provide doctors with the information they need to better understand the placenta which would improve their ability to care for the baby before the baby is born. 

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study is to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure blood flow to the placenta during pregnancy. Maternal blood carries the oxygen and nutrients that the baby needs to grow and develop. This blood goes to the placenta which controls the exchange of nutrients to the baby and removal of waste products from the baby. The ability to look at blood flow whilst a baby is still in the womb will help obstetricians to find women who have poor blood flow (known as placental insufficiency) during pregnancy. Finding these potential problems during pregnancy, rather than after delivery, may allow medical staff to intervene and give the best possible outcome for the baby. 


You may be eligible to participate for this study if:

  • You are pregnant woman who is at least 18 years or older 
  • You are less than 14 weeks pregnant
  • You are not pregnant with twins or multiples


Qualified participants will be compensated up to $325 for time and travel for this study. 

To find out more information and to learn if you are qualified to participate, fill out the online form or call the Pregnancy Research Group's confidential recruitment line at 503-494-8748.