A new test could be used on all pregnant women during their 20 week check-up, to ‘predict’ whether their baby will be born early.
Currently being trialled in the UK, the pen-like device is being used to detect if it’s likely a woman will give birth prematurely.
Preventing premature births
The Healthy Mummy recently revealed that Australian researchers are working on a simple test that would be able to predict premature birth from as early as 24 weeks. Scientists in the UK say they have invented a non-invasive device that can reveal within 15 seconds how likely it is a woman will go into premature labour, from as early as 20 weeks gestation.
According to The Telegraph the device can detect accumulations of moisture in the cervix, which can be an indicator of early labour.
“If we are able to identify women at real risk, then we can target them for treatments way before pre-term birth occurs to reduce the risks of either the baby dying or the extremely premature baby surviving with cerebral palsy or other problems associated with prematurity,” explained lead researcher Professor Dilly Anumba.
The device is being tested at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and uses wireless technology to give an indication of how likely a premature birth is, by ranking the results as either red, amber or green. Researchers say the test could be ready to use in the UK within three years.
“If we can prolong pregnancy by two, three or four weeks we could make a big difference in terms of how well the babies are and how relatively healthy they are without some of these disabilities associated with pre-term delivery.”
Australian research into premature births
Earlier this month, Australian scientists shared their breakthrough news – the development of a bedside swab that can predict if a woman is likely to go into labour within the next seven to 14 days.
In Australia, around eight per cent of babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks). Take a look at the latest research into the developmental delays in babies born between 32 and 36 weeks.