Risk of Premature Birth Detectable With New Blood Test

A research team at Stanford University in California, United States of America, has developed a new blood test that can predict if a pregnant woman will give birth prematurely.

Premature birth

It’s not always possible to explain the causes of preterm birth and why it happens. There are risk factors for being born early, such as infection, placental problems or genetic problems, but in many cases the cause is unknown.

If your waters break early, seek medical advice straight away as you could be at risk of premature labour. Attending and participating actively in your antenatal care is very vital in minimizing all the different risk factors that can lead to a premature birth.

That is the best way for your healthcare providers to frequently monitor you and your  unborn child. They can pick up any danger signs during the pregnancy and prepare adequately for a safe delivery where both mother and child targeted to be healthy even after the delivery.

The Research

The researchers said it is up to 80 percent accurate and can also be used to estimate the mother’s due date as reliably as an ultrasound, but costs much less.

Premature babies suffer a greater risk of breathing problems, feeding problems and are more susceptible to contracting infections. It occurs when a baby arrives at least three weeks early.

Before this new technique, the best tests only predicted premature birth in high-risk women, such as women who conceived through IVF, suffered multiple miscarriages or had already given birth prematurely.

The researchers hope this new breakthrough will accurately predict delivery dates so treatment can be provided immediately after birth or lead to new drugs to delay premature birth.

They also only proved correct around 20 percent of the time. They were very good at determining if the woman wouldn’t deliver preterm, if the test came back “no”, but they were not very good at predicting if or when the woman would deliver preterm, if the test came back “yes”. Mira Moufarrej, a bio-engineering PhD student at Stanford, told Daily Mail Online.

The researchers further commented that the difference is that their test is very good at determining “yes”. This new blood test looks at genes in blood samples from pregnant women and measures the levels of RNA, which carries instructions from DNA to parts of the body that make proteins.

From there, the scientists worked to identify which genes give reliable signals about the risk of premature birth and gestational age, or how far a pregnancy is.

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