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New method to predict miscarriage

A new method to predict the outcome of pregnancies that are threatening to miscarry could lead to effective ways of saving the lives of unborn babies, according to researchers.

Dr Kaltum Adam, an honorary clinical research fellow at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, told the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Stockholm, Sweden, that there weren't any methods at present to predict which women who show early signs of miscarriage will go on to lose their baby.

However, a new study by Dr Adam's team found that it is possible to accurately predict which pregnancies would miscarry by analysing the amount of bleeding and the levels of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin.

Dr Adam said: "This research has, for the first time, offered us a robust tool to begin to attempt to rescue pregnancies threatening to miscarry, when, currently, all we can do is fold our hands and hope for the best."

Researchers said the new method could be used to avoid "wasteful and potentially harmful interventions", including unnecessary blood tests, ultrasound scans and hospital admissions for bed rest, in 80% of women.

Copyright © Press Association 2011