Currently, pregnant women can learn when their child will be born via ultrasound, but the screening method is not readily available in all parts of the world. A research group is working on a blood test that could accurately tell the due date.
The blood test could be used in developing economies that usually have poor health care access as the test is a more affordable method for most women.
In the study, scientists at Stanford Medicine tracked 31 pregnant Danish women during their pregnancies. Every week, the women were asked to give a blood sample. Scientists analyzed the samples to learn more about the bits of RNA in the moms’ and fetuses’ genes.
Throughout the pregnancy, the amount of RNA detected in future moms’ blood changed. Scientists were able to predict the stage of pregnancy just by looking at the RNA in the women’s blood samples. They checked their findings by looking at the blood samples from two dozen pregnant women.
Blood Test Can Predict Due Date, Premature Deliveries
In ten of study participants, researchers were able to predict the stage of the pregnancy with an accuracy of 45%. This means that study authors predicted the approximate due date plus or minus 14 days.
Even though the prediction is not precise, an early ultrasound can only tell the due date with 48% accuracy. Also, if you use an ultrasound to predict the due date, the mother is required to know the date of her last menstrual period.
With further tweaks, the blood test could offer more information on the fetus than an ultrasound could. Ultrasounds lose accuracy in the second and third trimester.
This gives a super-high-resolution view of pregnancy and human development that no one’s ever seen before,
senior researcher Thuy Ngo said.
Researchers were also able to assess the risk of premature delivery with up to 80% accuracy.
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