Is it possible to predict the risk of a miscarriage via a blood test? Scientists seem to hope so.
UNITED KINGDOM — For expectant parents, the most heartbreaking thing to consider is having a miscarriage or your child being still-born. Miscarriages are often random events, that come completely unexpected. Even when the mother is doing everything correctly, they can happen. Just the thought of the risk alone can cause enormous anxiety.
Scientists, though, are studying to see if they can’t predict the risk of a miscarriage using an early blood test. According to BBC, UK doctors seem to think that they have found a link between some molecules in the blood and serious pregnancy complications. Their early research suggests that a blood test within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can help predict a mother’s risk of losing the child.
This being said, ‘early’ is the key word. Much more research has to occur before this can be accepted as scientific fact or practice among doctors.
The blood test itself would focus itself on the blood in the uterus. The test screens for molecules in the blood cells of the placenta bed called microRNA. Doing this, they managed to have 90% accuracy in determining the risk of a miscarriage as well as predicting pre-eclympisa. But again, though this took four studies, there were only about 160 test subjects. Meaning that the sample size is still too small to say that this test works for sure.
And the scientists behind the project recognize this as well. Though excited over the possibility of this breakthrough, Daniel Brison, an honorary professor at the University of Manchester said: “Although the results might seem exciting and cutting edge, there is unfortunately a high risk of them being wrong. We’d need larger follow-up studies to be sure whether these results are valid.”
Down the line, if these test prove themselves again and again, this could be a huge breakthrough for women’s health. A prediction of the risk could help women get the treatment they need to reduce the risk, and perhaps save lives, as well as find the root cause of placental diseases.