Researchers are working on a blood test that could be able to detect risk of spontaneous pre-term delivery.
According to a study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, five micro particle proteins found in first-trimester blood samples may give clues about the risk of spontaneous pre-term birth.
"Our goal is to develop prognostic markers for patients to help make predictions and offer highly personalised care to woman from early stages of pregnancy," said co-author Thomas McElrath from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US.
According to researchers, nearly 10 percent births are taking place before 37-week gestation against the normal 40 weeks. Pre-term birth can result in several conditions, including pre-term labour, early rupture of the placental membrane or preeclampsia.
Mothers with history of pre-term deliveries face higher risks. But predicting spontaneous pre-term birth is challenging, particularly in the case of first-time mothers, the team said.
For the study, researchers studied blood samples, collected toward the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, from three established biobanks.
The team compared samples from 87 women who delivered at or before 35 weeks with samples from 174 women who delivered at term and were of the same age and at the same week of pregnancy at the time giving blood.
They analysed multiple circulating microparticles associated proteins and found that a subset of these proteins could help predict risks, both for the first-time mothers as well as those who had previously given birth.