A significant number of pregnant women experience signs and symptoms of threatened preterm labor which may include: uterine contractions, changes in vaginal discharge and fluid, backaches, pelvic pressure, cramping, and cervical dilation. However, as few as 3% of them actually progress to delivery within the seven ensuing days.
If the risk for preterm delivery (birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age) is high, additional measures can be taken to delay parturition for as long as possible and to help prepare the fetus for birth. Corticosteroids, which help mature the baby’s lungs, are given when the fetus is expected to be born within 24 to 48 hours and these take about 24 hours to work. The prediction of preterm delivery for women with possible preterm labor is therefore of critical importance.
The major challenge for clinicians today is that in the absence of clear cervical dilatation or other relevant clinical factors, the clinical prediction of which women will deliver (Positive Predictive Value) is very poor. Discharging patients home creates the risk of a potentially avoidable adverse outcome, yet prophylactically admitting them for observation incurs considerable costs to the healthcare system and disruptions to the mother and family’s life. Further, corticosteroids and other antenatal interventions such as tocolytics, magnesium sulphate and antibiotics, are critical if delivery is imminent; but are expensive and potentially harmful if given without a clear indication.
Parsagen has developed a rapid, non-invasive test with unprecedented accuracy in predicting preterm birth within 7 and 14 days of presentation.