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Test could improve preterm labour risk assessment

A new test could help to save babies' lives.
Researchers believe that they have identified a test which could help to determine whether a woman is likely to give birth if her waters break early on during pregnancy.

The test could help to save the lives of thousands of premature babies by identifying the mothers likely to give birth early.

Doctors would then be able to prescribe these mothers drugs which would help babies' organs to develop more quickly in the womb, thus increasing their chances of survival.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute Soder hospital in Stockholm published the new research in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, claiming that a 'Lac-test,' which measures the lactate concentration in vaginal fluid, may be highly effective in predicting the onset of preterm labour in women with suspected preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes (PPROM).

Around 80,000 children are born prematurely in Britain every year and PPROM syndrome accounts for one third of all premature births.

Professor Philip Steer, BJOG's editor-in-chief, commented: "Lactate determination seems promising as a tool to predict the onset of preterm labour in women with suspected PPROM.

"If these findings can be confirmed by further studies, the 'Lac-test' may be an important advance in the clinical management of suspected PPROM."

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