A new blood test for pregnant women detects with 75-80 percent accuracy whether their pregnancies will end in premature birth. The technique can also be used to estimate a fetus’s gestational age — or the mother’s due date — as reliably as and less expensively than ultrasound.
Developed by a team of scientists led by researchers at Stanford University, the tests could help reduce problems related to premature birth, which affects 15 million infants worldwide each year. Until now, doctors have lacked a reliable way to predict whether pregnancies will end prematurely, and have struggled to accurately predict delivery dates for all types of pregnancies, especially in low-resource settings.
The paper authors include Keli Liu, a 2014 Stanford Graduate Fellow.