When it comes to forecasting due dates for pregnant mothers, estimates can be off by as much as two to three weeks. But now, thanks to new research out of Thomas Jefferson University, a routine screening test might turn weeks into days.
The test, which is actually the gold standard in preterm birth detection, entails measuring cervical length in order to determine the likelihood of labor, according to the study.
In the study, a meta-analysis published in the journal BJOG on October 28, researchers pooled data covering 735 women who had single-child pregnancies that resulted in babies delivered in the proper head-down position. The data, which was derived from five prospective studies, shows that a cervix measuring 100 millimeters or less indicates an 85 percent chance the woman will give birth within seven days.
The study’s senior author Vincenzo Berghella, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, was quoted in a public release on EurekAlert as having said that we can get “a better sense” of whether an expecting mother is about to deliver by measuring cervical length “via ultrasound at around 37-39 weeks”
Measuring cervical length via ultrasound at around 37-39 weeks can give us a better sense of whether a mother deliver soon or not
According to Dr. Berghella, women “always ask for a better sense of their deliver date” so that they can more efficiently and effectively plan their lives around their pregnancies and in doing so, they reduce their “anxiety about the onset of labor.” As if that wasn’t reason enough, Berghella claims that “having a better sense can also help obstetricians provide information that could help improve or even save a mother or baby’s life.”
Women always ask for a better sense of their delivery date in order to help them prepare for work leave, or to make contingency plans for sibling-care during labor. These are plans which help reduce a woman’s anxiety about the onset of labor (…) But having a better sense can also help obstetricians provide information that could help improve or even save a mother or baby’s life
The study found cervix measurements exceeding 30 millimeters to indicate a less than 50 percent chance of delivery within the week.
In other news, pediatricians recently issued a warning to mothers who would otherwise drink while pregnant: don’t do it.