This App Helps Tell If Women Are At Risk Of Preterm Birth

Preterm birth rate has been increasing in the past years, with 1 in every 10 babies born too early in the U.S. in 2018. That covered 10 percent of all newborns in the country in that year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The effects of preterm birth could increase the baby’s risk of death or serious disability. CDC said a child is more likely to develop breathing issues, digestive problems and bleeding in the brain as they grow.

Babies born too early before completing gestational age are also likely to experience developmental delay. But scientists recently found a potential way to reduce the risk of preterm birth. 

A research team at King's College London in England has developed a new app, called QUiPP v2, that could calculate a woman's chances of giving birth earlier than expected. Researchers said the mobile tool would help doctors provide pregnant women special treatments at the right time and reassure them when their risk is low.

QUiPP v2 provides risk assessment by analyzing individual risk factors, such as previous preterm birth and signs of miscarriage. The app can also look into clinical test results to predict preterm birth, including fetal fibronectin tests and cervical length measurements. 

Researchers said the tool, described in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, was designed with complicated algorithms but user-friendly interface to provide a simple individual percent risk score. 

“We are delighted to be able to share the findings of our work which shows that the QUiPP app is very reliable in predicting preterm birth in women at risk,” Jenny Carter, lead study author and senior research midwife at King's College London, said in a statement.

Carter and her colleagues have completed initial tests with QUiPP. The team assessed how the mobile app improves appropriate targeting of care. 

“This should mean that women who need treatments are offered them appropriately, and also that doctors and women can be reassured when these treatments are not needed, which reduces the possibility of negative effects and unnecessary costs for the NHS,” Carter said. 

Researchers plan to continue tests to update QUiPP algorithms. Future trials will involve research conducted across the United Kingdom and the Preterm Clinical Network Database, a global clinical registry of care given to women at risk of preterm birth.

pregnant Pregnancy is among the most sensitive stages of life among women and the scientific community continues to find health conditions and factors that may put both the mother and baby at risk. Pixabay

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