Simple test to predict if pregnant women will give birth prematurely

September 17, 2012

Babies born early run a greater risk of serious complications. The researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now developed a method to predict if pregnant women with preterm contractions will give birth within seven days. The method offers new possibilities to delay delivery and prepare care for the premature baby.

Delivery before 37 full weeks, so-called preterm delivery, is the biggest problem in perinatal medicine today, as it increases the risk of the child being seriously ill in the short and long term. The problem is that only 30 per cent of women who come in with early contractions actually give birth before full term.

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, studied 142 who came to Sahlgrenska University Hospital during the years 1995-2005 with early contractions without rupture of the membranes. As a result of the study, the researchers have developed a new method that can predict with high precision if a with contractions will give birth within seven days.

"To have time to give the woman , which speeds up the development of the fetal lungs, it is common practice to delay the delivery by a couple of days with the help of tocolytic treatment. Being able to predict if a woman who comes to the hospital with preterm contractions will actually give birth early and thereby requires follow-up and possible treatment is therefore very important,"according to Panagiotis Tsiartas, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and specialist at the Obstetrical and Gynecological Clinic at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

The method is based on a newly developed that looks at two specific proteins in the woman's blood combined with an already established examination that uses ultrasound to measure the length of the .

"Statistically, the method can predict with 75 to 80 per cent accuracy if a woman will give birth early," said Panagiotis Tsiartas.

"We will need to conduct further studies before the method can be used in full, but if the results of these studies are good, the test will hopefully lead to new types of treatments to prevent premature birth and treat the serious complications resulting from it," Panagiotis Tsiartas continues.

The article "Prediction of spontaneous preterm delivery in women with threatened preterm labour: a prospective cohort study of multiple proteins in maternal serum" is published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Explore further: Sweetened soft drinks linked to preterm birth

More information: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10 … 012.03328.x/abstract

Related Stories

Sweetened soft drinks linked to preterm birth

August 30, 2012
Sweetened (sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened) drinks may be linked to preterm birth, according to a recent joint study between Norwegian and Swedish researchers. It is important to prevent preterm birth since it ...

Marijuana use more than doubles risk of premature birth

July 17, 2012
A large international study led by University of Adelaide researchers has found that women who use marijuana can more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby prematurely.

Study finds residence in US a risk factor for preterm birth

February 9, 2012
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that duration of stay in the United States ...

Recommended for you

Study in mice finds dietary levels of genistein may adversely affect female fertility

November 14, 2017
Exposure to the phytoestrogen genistein prior to conception may adversely affect female fertility and pregnancy outcomes, depending on the dosage and duration of exposure, a new study in mice suggests.

IUDs may have a surprising benefit: Protection against cervical cancer

November 7, 2017
Considered a safe and highly effective contraception method, intrauterine devices (IUDs) may also be quietly offering protection against the third-most common cancer in women worldwide. A new study from the Keck School of ...

Increasing rates of chronic conditions putting more moms, babies at risk

November 7, 2017
Pregnant women today are more likely to have chronic conditions that could cause life-threatening complications than at any other time in the past decade - particularly poor women and those living in rural communities, a ...

First time mums with an epidural who lie down more likely to have a normal birth

October 18, 2017
Adopting a lying down position rather than being upright in the later stages of labour for first-time mothers who have had a low dose epidural leads to a higher chance of them delivering their baby without any medical intervention, ...

Mice delivered by C-section gain more weight than those delivered naturally

October 11, 2017
Mice born by Caesarian section gained on average 33 percent more weight in the 15 weeks after weaning than mice born vaginally, with females gaining 70 percent more weight.

Study shows epidurals don't slow labor

October 10, 2017
Epidural analgesia - a mix of anesthetics and narcotics delivered by catheter placed close to the nerves of the spine - is the most effective method of labor pain relief. In widespread use since the 1970s, epidurals have ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.