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Blood Test Taken After Miscarriage Can Predict Future Risk of Pregnancy Loss

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 May 2023
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Image: Early blood test may unravel secrets of pregnancy loss (Photo courtesy of Freepik)
Image: Early blood test may unravel secrets of pregnancy loss (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

Approximately 10% of women experience pregnancy loss, a percentage that is higher in regions where pregnancies frequently occur later in a woman's reproductive years. Various factors contribute to pregnancy loss, including hormonal imbalances, endocrine disorders, clotting issues, or lifestyle-related factors. Despite the fact that one in four pregnancies results in a miscarriage, little has been done to investigate the underlying causes, with the primary focus being on the process of uterus evacuation post-miscarriage. Now, a new study has found that a post-miscarriage blood test as early as the fifth week of pregnancy could shed light on the cause and, in some instances, guide preventative treatment strategies. These findings could potentially help prevent 5% of the annual 30 million miscarriages worldwide.

In the study, a team of researchers at Hvidovre Hospital (Hvidovre, Denmark) demonstrated that a blood sample taken from the mother shortly after a miscarriage that occurred as early as the fifth week of pregnancy can identify whether there was a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus. Such tests are typically only administered after a woman has experienced multiple miscarriages and if they occurred past the tenth week of pregnancy.

This blood test can be immediately dispatched to the hospital laboratory. Here, the fetal DNA is isolated, sequenced, and analyzed for chromosomal abnormalities, which are present in approximately 50 to 60% of miscarriages. This analysis allows doctors to identify the severity of these abnormalities and estimate the risk of future miscarriages. If no abnormalities are detected, doctors can then initiate an in-depth investigation for other causes. If a cause is identified, medical professionals can assess the risks and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

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