A new blood test that predicts if a pregnant woman will give birth prematurely has been developed. It is up to 80 percent accurate and can also be used to estimate the mother ’ s due date as reliably as an ultrasound, but costs much less, says the research team at Stanford University in California , United States ( US ).
Almost one out of every 10 infants born in the US is premature and the rate is going up , according to the CDC . Premature babies suffer a greater risk of breathing problems , feeding problems and are more susceptible to contracting infections .
The researchers hope this new breakthrough will accurately predict delivery dates so treatment can be provided immediately after birth or lead to new drugs to delay premature birth .
Premature birth occurs when a baby arrives at least three weeks early. Prior to this new technique, the best tests only predicted premature birth in high- risk women, such as women who conceived through In Vitro Fertilisation ( IVF) , suffered multiple miscarriages or had already given birth prematurely .
Additionally, they only proved correct around 20 percent of the time.” They were very good at determining if the woman wouldn’ t deliver preterm, if the test came back ‘ no ’, ” Mira Moufarrej, a bioengineering PhD student at Stanford said.