Scientists Can Now Predict Miscarriages
July 14, 2011
Those first days and weeks after the double line appears on a pregnancy test can be both incredibly joyful—and totally terrifying. Balancing out the OMG! dance of glee that so many of us do upon learning we’re pregnant is the harsh reality that miscarriages occur in about 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies, leading to frantic calls to our ob’s and midwives at the slightest sign of spotting or cramping. But, newly pregnant women may be able to rest a bit easier now that British researchers have developed a way to predict which pregnancies will end in miscarriage, reports Jezebel.
Plus: When Spotting Is Normal
The research was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference last week in Stockholm by lead researcher Dr. Kaltum Adam. In the study, scientists monitored 112 women with threatened miscarriages (signs of cramping or vaginal bleeding) who were between six and 10 weeks pregnant for five weeks. The women had ultrasounds, charted any pain or bleeding, and had weekly tests of levels of progesterone and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hcG), often referred to as the "pregnancy hormone."
Plus: Can You Prevent a Miscarriage?
Ultimately, the researchers determined that six factors had the greatest impact on the risk of miscarriage: a history of subfertility (lower than normal fertility), progesterone levels, hcG levels, the length of the fetus, how much bleeding had occurred, and the baby’s gestational age. Of those, bleeding and hcG levels turned out to be the best predictors of miscarriage risk when used in a “Pregnancy Viability Index” (PVI) that accurately predicted which women would continue their pregnancies in 94% of cases and which would suffer miscarriages in 77% of cases.
Plus: Coping After Miscarriage
“At present we have no way of predicting which threatened miscarriages will result in the end of the pregnancy and so we are unable to target attempts to rescue the pregnancy at the right women or to offer them counseling,” Dr. Adam said. “This has led to wasteful and potentially harmful interventions, including unnecessary blood tests, ultrasound scans, hospital admissions for bed rest, sexual abstinence, low dose aspirin and progesterone supplementation.” But now, the PVI requires no additional equipment and can help doctors focus resources on high-risk pregnancies and avoid subjecting the majority of women to unnecessary testing and worry.
Plus: Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Did you worry about miscarriage when you were first pregnant? Would a test like this help you to stop panicking?