Stockholm: Researchers have developed a new method to predict premature births, based on a new blood test that looks at two specific proteins, combined with an established ultrasound examination to measure the length of the cervix.
"Statistically, the method can predict with 75 to 80 percent accuracy if a woman will give birth early," said study author Panagiotis Tsiartas, specialist at the obstetrical and gynaecological clinic, Sahlgrenska University (of Gothenburg) Hospital.
Delivery before 37 full weeks, so-called pre-term delivery, is the biggest problem in perinatal medicine today, as babies run a greater risk of serious complications in the short and long term, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported.
Researchers from Sahlgrenska, who studied 142 pregnant women during the years 1995-2005 with early contractions, developed the new test to tell whether they will give birth within seven days, according to a Gothenburg statement.
"Being able to predict if a woman who comes to the hospital with pre-term contractions will actually give birth early and thereby requires follow-up and possible treatment is therefore very important," said 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," Tsiartas added.