A new blood test by Laboratory for Reproductive Medicine and Immunology in San Francisco, US, is reportedly designed to predict the risk of miscarriage or premature birth when performed during the early first trimester of pregnancy.

Researchers found that microRNA molecules present in the placental bed blood cells of the uterus during pregnancy could be linked to serious birth complications even before the appearance of symptoms.

The team analysed 160 births to evaluate the ability of the molecules to predict premature birth, pre-eclampsia and miscarriage, reported BBC.

While the results indicated approximately 90% accuracy for the prediction of miscarriage and late pre-eclampsia, it was 89% accurate for premature birth before 34 weeks.

The findings were presented at the American Association of Reproductive Medicine annual congress held in Texas, US.

“It was 89% accurate for premature birth before 34 weeks.”

It is expected that, in combination with additional established screening methods, the blood test screening for microRNA cells, could aid in the management of the pre-eclampsia and premature birth risk with medical intervention.

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According to researchers, the test is in the preliminary stage and requires further research and study.

University of Manchester clinical embryology and stem cell biology professor Daniel Brison was quoted by BBC as saying: “Although the results might seem exciting and cutting edge, there is, unfortunately, a high risk of them being wrong.

“We’d need larger follow-up studies to be sure whether these results are valid.”