New Blood Test Identifies Premature Birth Risks

New blood test may identify 80 percent of pre-term deliveries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Getting babies to cook long enough in the perfectly designed "oven", their mother's body, is critical for proper development. Until now, doctors haven't been able to adequately test women at risk for premature birth.

A simple blood test has been developed by researchers that can predict 80 percent of the women who may experience a preterm birth. Early targeting may help doctors prolong the pregnancy by one or two weeks.

"Ask your doctor when the preterm labor blood test is available."

Steven Graves, who directs the chemistry portion of the research at Brigham Young University disclosed that the new approach uses naturally occurring molecules present in a woman's body at 24 weeks gestation.

The blood test identifies three new peptide markers in combination with a few other proteins that can signal preterm birth. 

Dr. Sean Esplin, an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Utah and an obstetrician for Intermountain Healthcare, added that a huge impact can be made if doctors had some warning which patients are at risk for preterm labor. 

This new blood test may help improve survivability for some of the babies and reduce complications for other babies.

In Depth

  • The researchers tested their method on blood samples from women who had full-term births
  • The researchers also tested 80 women who delivered  prematurely
  • Sera Prognostics hopes to have a diagnostic test on the market in the first half of 2012
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 21, 2011
Last Updated:
April 29, 2011