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

Population health impact of infants born small for gestational age in low- and middle-income countries

August 18, 2017
In low-and middle-income countries, it is common for babies to be born of low birth weight, due to either inadequate growth in utero (fetal growth restriction) and/or preterm birth, (birth before 37 weeks gestation). Maternal ...

Hormone from fat tissue can give protection against polycystic ovary syndrome

August 10, 2017
Obesity and reduced insulin sensitivity are common in polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS. New research based on animal studies, and to be published in the journal PNAS, reveals that the hormone adiponectin can protect against ...

Study in mice may reveal insights into causes of miscarriages for some women

August 9, 2017
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have identified how natural killer cells in the mouse placenta can cause a fetus to fail to grow in the womb or cause miscarriages.

Insomnia, sleep apnea nearly double the risk of preterm delivery before 34 weeks

August 9, 2017
Pregnant women who are diagnosed with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia appear to be at risk of delivering their babies before reaching full term, according to an analysis of California births by researchers ...

Elective freezing of IVF embryos linked to higher pregnancy rates in some cases

August 1, 2017
A delay in transferring embryos to the mother improves the success of in vitro fertilization in certain cases, according to a study by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Celmatix Inc. and several other ...

Negative birth outcomes linked to air pollution exposure early in pregnancy, study finds

July 27, 2017
Exposure to air pollution early in a pregnancy could increase risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine, and published on July 27 in Environmental Health ...

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.