New App Can Help Doctors Predict Preterm Birth Risk

New App Can Help Doctors Predict Preterm Birth Risk

A new app that uses an algorithm could help doctors to better identify women at risk of giving birth prematurely, scientists say.

QUiPP, developed by researchers at King's College London, was tested in two studies of high-risk women being monitored at ante-natal clinics.

The app uses an algorithm which combines the gestation of previous pregnancies and the length of the cervix with levels of foetal fibronectin to classify a woman's risk.

The first study focused on women deemed to be at high risk of preterm birth, usually because of a previous early pregnancy, despite not showing any symptoms. The second study predicted the likelihood of early delivery in a group of women showing symptoms of early labour which often does not progress to real labour.

In the first study, researchers collected data from 1,249 women at high risk for pre-term birth attending pre-term surveillance clinics. The model was developed on the first 624 consecutive women and validated on the subsequent 625.

The estimated probability of delivery before 30, 34 or 37 weeks' gestation and within two or four weeks of testing for foetal fibronectin was calculated for each patient and analysed as a predictive test for the actual occurrence of each event.

In the second study, data from 382 high-risk women was collected. The model was developed on the first 190 women and validated on the remaining 192.

In both studies, the app was found to perform well as a predictive tool, and far better than each component (previous pregnancy, cervical length or foetal fibronectin) taken alone.

Worldwide 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks) each year and over a million of these die of prematurity-related complications, researchers said.

A number of factors are used to determine if a woman is at risk of giving birth prematurely, including a history of preterm births or late miscarriages.

Two further factors which doctors can consider are the length of cervix and levels of a biomarker found in vaginal fluid known as foetal fibronectin, which are typically tested from 23 weeks.

The researchers have further developed the foetal fibronectin test to be accurately used from the first half of pregnancy.

"Despite advances in prenatal care the rate of preterm birth has never been higher in recent years, including in the US and UK, so doctors need reliable ways of predicting whether a woman is at risk of giving birth early," said Andrew Shennan from King's College.

"It can be difficult to accurately assess a woman's risk, given that many women who show symptoms of preterm labour do not go on to deliver early," he added.

The findings were published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

10 ways to stay fit and healthy in 2015

As the big day of 31st December approaches, people think about the resolution to be taken on the 1st January. It is a fact that most of the resolutions remain incomplete. Statistics reveals that to stay fit and healthy is one of the most popular resolutions (and the most incomplete one too!). However, it is very much possible to achieve it effectively if one works in a systematic and interesting manner.  Here are 10 best ways to stay fit and healthy in the coming year.

1. Make it interesting: Anything that is dull doesn’t prolong much. Make the idea of staying healthy as much interesting as you can. Exercises like aerobics, skating, hula-hopping, or Zumba make it exciting.

2. Join a gym: Studies confirm that those who do not join Gymnasium or sports club fail in making it a daily practice as compared to those who join. It is because the external or peer pressure works in the latter case.

3. Decide the priority: Those who are clear about the priority of good health in life do not fail in keeping up the resolution. They follow the exercise routine to stay fit, not just to keep the resolution. 

4. Do not let it be monotonous:  Going daily to the same place and repeating the same exercises will be boring after some time. Add different exercises to the workout routine so that there is something new and exciting daily.

5. Take a break: It is okay if you follow ‘six days a week ‘exercise routine and take a break on Sunday. Rather, it recharges you with energy and zeal to do it regularly for one more week.

6. Be punctual and regular:  Statistics says that those who do not follow exercise routine regularly are very likely to drop it out soon. It is incredibly important to be regular and punctual. Decide a routine and stick to the timelines.

7. Decide SMART goals:  Experts say that deciding SMART goals is extremely beneficial for sustaining health and fitness resolution longer. Decide small targets and achieve them. Set monthly or 3-months plans and monitor the progress.

8. If possible, create a group: Creating a support group can be helpful if you lack motivation for a fitness resolution. Make a group of 4-5 friends and do exercise together for some time. As you develop an interest in the due course, there is no need for such catalysts. 

9. Keep the critical balance: An exercise routine should have varied items as cardiovascular exercises, stretching exercises, weight-training and aerobics. It not only preserves the diversity, but keeps the interest alive.

10. Don’t be a perfectionist:  If you follow a one-hour routine, then do not skip the exercise completely when you get up late.  Just do whatever you can in the remaining time. It is always better doing ‘some’ exercise than doing ‘nothing’.  Exigencies may be there, make it a part of life!

The above-mentioned tips help in keeping the morale high to make the fitness resolution a grand success!