You May Tell Your Pregnancy Due Date Using A Blood Test

Women who have once given birth will tell you that most babies are never born on time. In fact, there are past studies, which have determined that only 5% of newborns are actually born on the days when they were expected. All the others come days or weeks around the exact time when you thought they would debut. As such, you are left with unexpected surprises.

Doctors have also made an attempt to assist expectant mothers to predict when they are likely to go into labor by asking them to recall the last time they had their period and then add 280 days to it. Once the rough estimate has been made, the first ultrasound scan can be used to improve it. Experts are able to determine the fetal’s age through the calculation of the short distance from the top of the fetus’s head to the bottom of its rump. However, as time goes by, the growth of a fetus becomes less uniform, making it tougher to predict a delivery date.

Tantalizing findings seek to improve on that by providing a new way of determining your likely delivery date. This determination is said to be done using your blood tests.

Stephen Quake, a Stanford University researcher behind this new ray of hope is also credited for the more than a decade old prenatal blood test for Down syndrome that is now the primary way obstetricians use in place of amniocentesis. Quake and his team say that the ability to determine a woman’s due date with the use of her blood tests is promising because some small pilot tests were able to determine whether an expectant mother stood the chance of delivering a premature baby.

How the Experimental Tests Were Done

In order to conduct the experimental tests, the researchers identified and zeroed in on the activity levels of specific genes in the fetus or its placenta. They were able to spot 7 genes linked to preterm labor risk and nine others associated with gestational age.

Only pregnant women were used in the study because they are already known to be at higher risk of the hazard – either premature contractions or preterm births.

Findings of the study have already been published in the journal Science.

Quake said that the blood tests are still in their early days, but everything looks more promising than ever before.

Study Findings

The researchers successfully determined premature births two months earlier with an accuracy of 80%. This was an impressive score compared to the current tests.

However, these findings were made in only 5 women after rounds of tests. Follow-up tests were also seen to misclassify 3 of the 18 full-term samples as premature.

Once a large clinical test is done and the results replicated, women previously seen to be at high risk could benefit immensely.

Sarah Stock clarified that this test does not give the exact date that preterm birth will happen. It only informs the doctor about the risks of preterm. She added that “The information is important to the doctor because they can then advise the women and even care for them in facilities with better resources.”