PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Pregnancy Test May Also Show Miscarriage Risk

While it's not marketed for it, this new type of Clearblue pregnancy test can also be used to indicate a woman's risk of miscarriage. (Amazon.com)

While it’s not marketed for it, this new type of Clearblue pregnancy test can also be used to indicate a woman’s risk of miscarriage. (Amazon.com)

A new pregnancy test for sale in American pharmacies takes “home testing” to a whole new level — the results show not only whether a woman is pregnant, but about how far into the pregnancy she is. An unintended aspect of the test is that it might be able to measure the risk of a miscarriage.

The test is called Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test With Weeks Estimator. It’s been available in Europe since 2008. At the end of August, the Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in the U.S., and it’s now hitting store shelves.

Usually a pregnancy test just reports whether a woman is pregnant or not buy measuring the levels of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine.

The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test With Weeks Estimator shows a result indicating a woman has been pregnant for two to three weeks. (Clearblue)

When a pregnant woman takes the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test With Weeks Estimator, she would see “Pregnant 1-2,” “Pregnant 2-3″ or “Pregnant 3+” on a little digital screen, indicating how far along she is in the pregnancy.

While it’s not marketed for it, the test can also be used to indicate if a woman is at risk for a miscarriage. The British blog The Alpha Parent writes, “a lot of women use the test as a reassurance tool to indicate that their pregnancy is progressing as it should be.”

It’s estimated that between one-third and one-fifth of early pregnancies end in miscarriage. One of the key warning signs is that the woman’s hCG level doesn’t rise rapidly the way it should in early pregnancy. So for example, if a woman has tested positive for pregnancy and does not get a “3-plus weeks” reading after three weeks or more of pregnancy, she might be at risk.

While it’s not marketed for that use, Dr. Michael Zinaman, who is on the Clearblue advisory board and is the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, told the host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, Carey Goldberg, that it could be used in that way.

“A week later after your missed menses, you would expect that this test is going to show — in normal pregnancies — a rising titer,” Zinaman said. “Your result will be two to three [weeks] — it will be the next result. So, to the degree you do not see that, women should take caution and suggest that maybe ‘my pregnancy is not progressing as expected,’ and perhaps notify their doctor.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 27 7 Comments

U.S. Wind Power On Course To Grow Big

The Department of Energy says wind power is poised to become one of the country's largest sources of energy.

July 27 2 Comments

Alaskans Still Cleaning Up Reminders Of Japan Tsunami

Crews are picking up and bagging tons of debris that were swept out to sea when the tsunami hit in 2011.

July 24 11 Comments

U.S. Takes Home Gold… In Math

For the first time since 1994, six American teens won the International Mathematical Olympiad.

July 24 3 Comments

Food Innovators Develop Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

Researchers say a fast-growing new form of a seaweed tastes like bacon when fried.