The journey and the joy of becoming pregnant can be one of the best parts of many couples’ lives together. A joyful yet stressful time during the first trimester, knowing that 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
“Bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy can be normal,” explained Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chair of Yale School of Medicine‘s Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale Medicine physician and also President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “It happens frequently in early pregnancy, but sometimes bleeding or cramping can be a sign of an impending miscarriage.”
Dr. Taylor and his team have created a quicker answer to know what is causing that bleeding.
“Often testing for miscarriage can take days or weeks before one determines whether that pregnancy is miscarrying or not, and we aim to take some of the stress out of that.”
He sees how early pregnancy is difficult enough with worry for many and explains how the test hopes to help with that and exactly how it works.
“There is a protein made by the fetus that the mother doesn’t make. It’s called alpha-fetoprotein. High levels of that can signal danger — a result of the placenta detaching. If that protein is there, that alpha-fetoprotein, that blood is coming from the fetus and this is likely to go on to be a miscarriage.”
The test is still in the research phase, but ultimately, Dr. Taylor would like it widely available, with results that take just hours.