Is it possible for a test to predict a miscarriage?

September 28, 2012 3:45 PM by

Wouldn't it be nice to know that you're not likely to suffer a miscarriage during a pregnancy? It turns out that you may soon be able to. A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that a test of progesterone levels in pregnant women who were experiencing early symptoms of a possible miscarriage, including abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding, helped determine whether or not the pregnancy was viable.

Currently, doctors mostly rely on ultrasounds to determine whether or not a pregnancy is viable, but according to My Health News Daily, these results aren't conclusive 30 percent of the time. Testing for the HCG hormone is also used, but the tests typically need to be performed more than once to diagnose nonviable pregnancies.

In this new study, researchers from the University of Birmingham in England collected data from 26 previous studies involving 9,436 women who were less than 14 weeks pregnant and had experienced abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. About 2,300 of these women had undergone an inconclusive ultrasound, while the rest hadn't been screened.

Of the 2,300 women who had an inconclusive ultrasound, 73 percent went on to have miscarriages. Those who had progesterone levels below 3 to 6 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had a 99 percent probability of a nonviable pregnancy.

In addition, 96 percent of the women who didn't have an ultrasound but did have progesterone levels below 10 ng/mL had a miscarriage. Only 37 percent of the women without an ultrasound but with higher progesterone levels experienced a nonviable pregnancy.

The progesterone test was more accurate when it was combined with a transvaginal ultrasound, but trials still need to be conducted before the test will be added to the current procedures used to screen the possibility of a miscarriage.

Still, it's hopeful news that may prove useful if you're planning to get pregnant later down the line!

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