A woman of childbearing age has a 15-20 chance that her pregnancy will end in miscarriage, according to the American Pregnancy Association. New research from England found a formula that predicts with 77 percent accuracy which pregnancies are likely to end in miscarriage.
A group of fertility researchers at St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester spent five weeks tracking 112 women who were between six and 10 weeks pregnant. The process is as follows: How My Miscarriage Brought Us Closer Together
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"During the five weeks the women were in the study they had ultrasound scans, weekly charting of pain and bleeding and weekly tests to check the levels of progesterone and the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). After analysing data on the outcomes of these pregnancies, Dr [Kaltum] Adam found there were six factors that had the most impact on the risk of miscarriage: a history of subfertility, levels of progesterone, levels of hCG, the length of the foetus [sic], how much bleeding had occurred, and the gestational age of the baby." What Dealing With Fertility Issues Feels Like
Dr. Adam and her colleagues found that the combination of hCG levels and amount of bleeding could be used to create a "Pregnancy Viability Index" (PVI), which in turn provided a reliable means of discerning threatened pregnancies from normal ones. How Couples Cope With Infertility
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By the end of the five weeks, the PVI predicted with 94 percent accuracy the pregnancies that succeeded, and with 77 percent accuracy which pregnancies did not. While the sample size was small, Dr. Adam expressed high hopes for a research trial following 1000 women with threatened pregnancies. Not only would the development of PVI help doctors rescue pregnancies in a timely matter, but it would help scientists isolate the factors that lead to miscarriage in the first place. Conveniently enough, hospitals would need no additional gadgets or equipment to use the PVI. All they would do is apply the formula to data gathered from a woman's pregnancy.
Additionally, our currently inadequate means of determining the likelihood of miscarriage cause scores of women to undergo unnecessary, even harmful, interventions. A reliable PVI could potentially eliminate the prescription of wasteful blood tests, drugs, ultrasound scans, and hospital bed rest.