They are able to predict when the pregnant woman will go into labor thanks to a blood sample

When we reach the end of pregnancy, we can recognize that delivery is approaching thanks to certain signs that indicate that the arrival of the baby is a matter of days or hours . But what if a blood test could predict it? If we could know in advance that the delivery will occur, either at term or premature, to take the appropriate measures?

For the first time, researchers have found a way to predict when a pregnant woman will go into labor by analyzing immunological and other biological signals in a blood sample , according to a study from Stanford University School of Medicine published in the journal. Science Translational Medicine .

Signs of labor: the day is coming

  • Signs of labor: the day is coming
  • Triggering markers for labor

The team of researchers took between one and three blood and plasma samples from 63 pregnant women during the last 100 days of their pregnancy.

They evaluated 7,142 data points, including information on metabolites, proteins, and immune-related markers in blood samples

They then used computer models to identify associations between the data, the day the samples were collected, and the day labor began.


Thus they were able to identify 45 biomarkers and, based on them, developed a prediction tool . The model predicted the time to onset of labor at approximately two to four weeks for both preterm and normal deliveries.

They found 45 biomarkers that can identify a window of two to four weeks before the pregnant woman goes into labor.

Predicting your due date

Okay, it is not a very exact data. But it must be borne in mind that this is the first time that these markers have been identified in blood samples, and it still lacks greater precision. The method could reduce the expected delivery date to a two-week window , and the researchers hope it will become even more accurate as the technique is refined.

“A future study could broaden this window and take a larger number of samples from each patient to more accurately identify it and better observe the exact dynamics of these changes in individual patients,” said Beth Holder, who studies placental biology at Imperial College of London.

The woman gives birth at approximately 40 weeks of pregnancy , although a full-term delivery is considered to be one that occurs between weeks 37 and 42 of gestation.

Being born in week 37 is not the same as being born in week 42, even if both deliveries are at term


Being born in week 37 is not the same as being born in week 42, even if both deliveries are at term

A more accurate prediction of when the baby will arrive could be especially helpful in preventing preterm births . For example, being able to check whether a woman with premature contractions is in the prepartum phase could help doctors decide whether to administer steroids to mature the lungs.

We hope that over time this method will be improved to adjust the delivery date as much as possible .

The long-term goal of work like this is to identify agents that can induce labor and then “therapeutically target these markers to prevent preterm labor .”

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