About 15 million premature babies are born worldwide each year. Infants born before 37 full weeks are at an increased risk for health complications, including cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and impaired vision and hearing. Researchers from Sweden have developed a new method that may predict preterm delivery and hope the test can offer new possibilities to delay delivery or better prepare parents in caring for their premature baby.
In a study (subscription only) published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers studied 142 pregnant women who came to Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden during the years 1995-2005 with early contractions without rupture of the membranes. They were able to predict with 75 to 80 percent accuracy if a pregnant woman with contractions will give birth within seven days. Researchers discussed the significant of the findings in a University of Gothenburg release:
“To have time to give the woman cortisone, 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 blood test 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 cervix.
The authors noted that further research is needed before this method can be used in a clinical setting.
Previously: How Stanford researchers are working to understand the complexities of preterm birth, Hormone could prevent 10,000 preterm births per year, New research center aims to understand premature birth, Device designed to better detect preterm labor and Moms who were born prematurely more likely to have premature babies themselves
Via Medical News Today
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