Forecasting Miscarriages

Miscarriages can be predicted with the Pregnancy Viability Index

(RxWiki News) Even after achieving conception, women who've been through infertility treatments often experience fragile pregnancies. This can cause excessive anxiety and fear. Perhaps a newly developed test will put some of these fears to rest.

Pregnancy outcomes, whether positive or negative, may now be predicted. Fertility researchers in the United Kingdom have developed a reliable way of charting gestation health and forecasting early termination.

"Ask your doctor if you're at risk for miscarriage."

Up until now, there was no real way to accurately predict which pregnancies were at risk for miscarriage. Dr. Kaltum Adam, an honorary clinical research fellow at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, U.K., wants to help target pregnancies that are at risk and offer early miscarriage intervention or psychological counselling.

Before, there were many unnecessary tests and costs incurred for inaccurately intervening on healthy pregnancies, causing unwarranted hospital admissions, blood tests and ultrasounds.

Between 2009 and 2010, Dr. Adam and her team followed 112 women at risk for miscarrying in their first trimester. Over the course of five weeks, the women received ultrasound scans, weekly charting of pain and bleeding and weekly tests to check the levels of progesterone and the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin, or hCG. Six factors had the most impact on miscarriage risk:

  1. A history of infertility
  2. Progesterone levels
  3. HCG levels
  4. Length of the fetus
  5. Excessive bleeding for the mom
  6. Gestational age of the baby

Individually, each risk factor could not accurately predict which pregnancy would terminate early. One exciting quality of the PVI is that it is reliant on data already available and doesn't require additional machinery to help in its predictions.

By the end of the study, the team's newly developed Pregnancy Viability Index, or PVI, was able to accurately predict the pregnancy outcome in 94 percent of women who had ongoing pregnancies and 77 percent whose pregnancies ended in miscarriage.

Dr. Adam calls the PVI a robust tool which can help physicians target and attempt to rescue miscarriages that are impending. Furthermore, psychological counseling and anxiety support can begin earlier.

This research will be presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in July 2011. Results are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
July 5, 2011