Ralph Schimmer

Ralph has been Chief Medical Officer and Head Global Medical & Scientific Affairs for Centralised and Point of Care Solutions (CPS) within the Roche Diagnostics division since May 2014.

Ralph began his career at Roche in 2000 as a Medical Director and Clinical Scientist within Roche Pharma Development in Basel, Switzerland. Before joining Roche Diagnostics, Ralph served as Global Head Drug Safety Science – Cardiometabolism within the Roche Pharma Development organization.

Since 2012 Ralph has also been the Roche coordinator of the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s (IMI) project Eu2P, a public-private partnership with a consortium of 7 European universities, 15 pharmaceutical companies and the European and French Medicines Agencies. 

Ralph received a Medical Degree (M.D.) and Doctor of Medicine (Dr. Med.) from the University of Munich Medical School, Germany, and a Master of Business and Administration (M.B.A.) from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester, New York, USA. He is a board certified physician and surgeon and lecturer at the University of Zurich Medical School. 

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy disorder occurring only during pregnancy. To mark World Preeclampsia Day (May 22), I would like to share some insights on how to make pregnancy after preeclampsia as safe as possible for women and babies. One of the questions we hear most frequently from women who have experienced preeclampsia is: ‘ Is it safe to have another baby? ’ To address this, let’s consider the risks associated with preeclampsia before exploring what it means for subsequent pregnancies and births. The dangers of preeclampsia Preeclampsia usually begins after the 20th week. Unfortunately, the earlier it begins, the more severe the threat of preterm delivery, low birth weight, placental abruption, and seizures (eclampsia). The risk of recurrence generally depends on how serious the preeclampsia was the first time. Up to 20% of women who had preeclampsia will suffer from it in a subsequent pregnancy. Importantly, 10%–20% of severe preeclampsia cases also develop HELLP syndrome - haemolysis, e levated l iver enzymes and l ow p latelet count. It can cause red blood cells to break down, blood clots to form and liver dysfunction. If a woman already had HELLP, the risk of it reappearing in a following pregnancy increases drastically. Tips for the next pregnancy Some of the risk factors for preeclampsia are well-established: personal or family history; chronic hypertension or other conditions such as kidney disease, lupus erythematosus or diabetes; age (younger than 20 or older than 40); obesity; multiple pregnancy; having babies less than two years apart or more than 10 years apart; and in vitro fertilisation (IVF)-assisted pregnancy. I would like to share a few simple measures that can help assess woman’s risk for preeclampsia. Get checked: If a woman who had preeclampsia plans to have more children, her doctor may first want to examine...