Even though new technologies help the medical systems worldwide, the birth of premature babies is still a big issue. Every year, 15 million babies are born before their term, and in more than one million cases, that proves to be fatal for the babies. In order to try and work on that issue, some Kings College London researchers came up with the app that will let doctors predict the chances of a preterm birth.
If the app will be approved by the doctors, the preterm problem could be majorly decreased. If the doctor will know that there are high chances that the baby will be born before its term, he or she will take some steps in order to ensure that the early birth is prevented. Currently, there are some methods used by doctors to see if the mother could be in danger of giving birth too early. These include checking the biomarker levels found in the vaginal fluid and the cervix measuring.
Because these are not very accurate, the team of developers thought of an algorithm that would combine the cervix measurement, the biomarker levels and the gestation period of previous pregnancies . The app called QUIPP was already tested in two studies, which had a total of 1,600 women. One study focused on women who had symptoms of early labor and the other one on women who were at high risk of preterm birth. The studies proved that the app was the most accurate tool when it came to predicting the preterm births.
According to the lead author of the study, Professor Andrew Shennan, the more accurately a tool predicts the preterm risk, the better can the doctors ensure that the mother and her baby will be safe. Early births can be prevented using some treatments like steroids intake.
The researchers involved in the development of the QUIPP app believe that further studies will be needed before it can become a trusted tool in detecting early births risks. Professor Shennan claimed that it is difficult to calculate these risks, mostly because even though a lot of women display preterm labor symptoms, they do not deliver early. Most of the ,can include diarrhea, vaginal bleeding or spotting, abdominal cramps, constant back ache, change in the vaginal discharge and lower abdominal or pelvic pressure.
The findings of the research were published in the Ultrasound Obstetrics & Gynecology journal. The app that will let doctors predict the chances of a preterm birth is already available in the App Store, but keep in mind that it has to be further studied in order to be very accurate.
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