How to accurately guess the due date?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

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15 June 2021, 09:00

Experts have proposed a new diagnostic method that helps to determine the date of birth with maximum accuracy.

To calculate when a pregnant woman should have a baby, doctors use information gathered from an ultrasound scan and also rely on the date of her last menstrual period. It is this date that gives a rough idea of when conception could have occurred. Ultrasound also allows you to compare the period with the degree of intrauterine development of the future baby.

Nevertheless, despite the logical calculations used, the error still remains considerable: the error can be up to 5 weeks. Many specialists additionally use other indicators, such as the length of the cervix. However, this method does not always "work".

Representatives from Stanford University undertook to solve this problem using a blood test. They conducted a study involving several dozen pregnant women who were in the second trimester of pregnancy . During the experiment, scientists several times took the blood of women for analysis - the levels of various biological markers, proteins, substances that appeared as a result of metabolic processes were assessed. The results were then compared with those found on the day the study participants began to give birth.

As a result of the work, scientists were able to isolate 45 molecular components that can indicate the approach of the onset of labor. Next, the researchers double-checked their assumptions by examining the analyzes of ten more expectant mothers. Indeed, it was possible to predict the due date in about three weeks.

Perhaps the only drawback of this method is that analyzes should be carried out repeatedly, and at least several times during the entire gestation period. After all, specialists should determine the dynamics of the isolated molecules. For example, the level of the placental hormone 17-hydroxyprogesterone is indicative: its sharp increase suggests that it is more time for a woman to prepare for childbirth. A similar indicator is the increased concentration of the immune protein IL-1R4 - the so-called type IV receptor for interleukin-1. An increase in this value indicates that labor will begin in about a month.

Currently, scientists are trying to improve and clarify the list of diagnostic indicators, to determine the frequency and frequency of blood sampling for analysis. Experts point to an important point: in this way, it is possible to determine not only the time of normal childbirth, but also the date of premature labor. The ability to prepare in advance for the premature birth of a child is another chance for such a baby to survive.

Materials are presented on the page TheScientist

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