Saliva test in pregnancy may cut premature births

In a new study researchers have found that, a simple saliva test that spots hormone level in pregnant woman could help to cut toll of potentially dangerous premature birth. This test identifies the level of progesterone in pregnant women who are likely to give birth prematurely. Level of progesterone helps to stop the womb contracting before the full term of 40 weeks.

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Low levels of the hormone put women at risk of delivering more than six weeks early. The test could help to reduce the number of premature birth which taking place before 37 weeks. Premature babies are more at risk of medical complications, learning difficulties or other handicaps. Pregnant women who are risk should be monitored & could be given preventive measures such as hormones supplements to delay delivery.

Researchers found that women who gave birth before 34 weeks had far lower levels of progesterone than those who had their babies from 37 weeks. They analyzed saliva samples for 92 women between 24 weeks & 34 weeks of pregnancy. The expectant mothers had all been identified as being at risk of premature birth for reasons such as a history of pre-term birth & late miscarriage or because they had an infection.

Professor Lucilla Poston said, “Saliva is easy to collect, there is no need for a needle or a blood sample & it would be wonderful if in the future we only had to ask a pregnant woman to produce a small sample of saliva to know whether or not she was at risk of very early premature birth.”

Measurement of saliva progesterone may be of value in the prediction of early pre-term labor & determining which women might benefit from progesterone supplementation. The researchers said lower progesterone concentrations in women who delivered early & the ratio of progesterone to the hormone called estriol, suggest hormonal imbalance may be a factor causing premature birth in some women.

Experts do not know exactly why a low level of progesterone which is normally produced in large quantities from the placenta may lead to premature birth. However, it has anti-inflammatory properties, so low levels may help to spread bacterial infection, which is widely recognized as a cause of very early labor.

More: What are the reasons of premature birth?

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