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Simple Test Might Predict Whether Some Pregnancies Succeed

Simple Test Might Predict Whether Some Pregnancies Succeed

09/28/12

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Measuring progesterone levels in women with pain or bleeding during early pregnancy may help determine whether or not the pregnancy is viable, a new study says.

A viable pregnancy means that there is a reasonable expectation that it will result in a live birth. Progesterone is a hormone that plays a key role in pregnancy.

About one-third of women experience vaginal bleeding or pain in early pregnancy. Ultrasound is used to determine pregnancy viability but this test can sometimes be inconclusive, the authors of the new study pointed out.

Along with Dutch colleagues, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England analyzed the findings of 26 studies involving more than 9,400 pregnant women. Seven of the studies included women with pain or bleeding and an inconclusive ultrasound result, and 19 studies included women with pain or bleeding and no ultrasound.

The analysis showed that a single low progesterone measurement for women with pain or bleeding in early pregnancy can differentiate between a viable and non-viable pregnancy when an ultrasound result was inconclusive.

The progesterone test was less accurate in predicting pregnancy viability in women with pain or bleeding who did not have an ultrasound, according to a university news release.

The study was published online Sept. 28 in BMJ.

Low progesterone levels may occur in some viable pregnancies and the progesterone test should be used with another test to increase its diagnostic accuracy, the researchers concluded.

Because the new study was an observational review of prior studies, it did not conclusively prove that the progesterone test is a viable option for expectant mothers.

More information

The March of Dimes has more about vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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