Groundbreaking new blood test could predict risk of miscarriage or premature birth

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  • A new blood test could predict the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

    The test, which is carried out during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, is also said to be able to identify the possibility of pre-eclampsia, after researchers found that certain signs in the blood could predict these birth complications with up to 98 per cent accuracy.

    The research was conducted by the Laboratory for Reproductive Medicine and Immunology in San Francisco, who looked at 160 pregnancies, of which 101 had no complications, and attempted to identify the molecules in the blood that could indicate problems.

    ‘These complications pose a serious risk to both maternal and infant health. Our analysis supports the idea that [they] have a common biological origin early in the first trimester that can be detected throughout the first trimester,’ the authors of the study concluded.

    Their findings were presented to the annual congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in San Antonio, Texas, and although further investigation is still necessary, any experts have since hailed the findings as promising, and believe that they have the potential to save many future pregnancies.

    Professor Simon Fishel, an IVF pioneer and managing director of fertility clinic Care Fertility, said: ‘The finding could help save some pregnancies across the world.’

    ‘As many as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage with 80% of them occurring before 12 weeks. Specialist obstetricians have means to help manage such disorders and early recognition of these complications is vital.’

    Barbara Hepworth-Jones of the Miscarriage Association told the Daily Mail: ‘Much research is still needed … but this holds real hope for the future.’

    As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and one in four women will experience a miscarriage during their lifetimes. The majority of miscarriages happen in the first trimester – over 80 per cent of miscarriages occur before 12 weeks.