Taking Blood Tests Now, Might Predict Preterm Birth Later

Did you know? On average, black women are about 60% more likely to have a premature baby compared to white women? Those numbers undoubtedly way heavy on black women, so what can you do? Luckily, researchers have developed a blood test that can predict a pregnant woman’s risk of preterm delivery with up to 80 percent accuracy.

The test is not ready for prime time, stressed senior researcher Stephen Quake, a professor at Stanford University in California. It still has to be validated in larger studies of more diverse groups of women, he said.

“In this study, we’ve demonstrated proof-of-principle,” Quake explained. “Now we need a clinical trial.”

The hope, according to Quake, is that the test can one day be used routinely to identify women who are likely to go into labor prematurely. “Right now, there’s really no way to do that,” he said.

In the United States, over 9 percent of births are premature, before the 37th week of pregnancy. In most of those cases, Quake said, women spontaneously go into labor and it’s not clear why.

The new blood test, described in an