Thursday, October 27, 2011
New Research Questions Medical Practice in Determining Miscarriage
The Atlantic: A False Positive for Miscarriage: Terminating Healthy Pregnancies, by Alice G. Walton:
New research suggests that the practices used by doctors to determine whether or not a fetus is growing don't leave enough room for error
Though it would seem obvious when a woman has a miscarriage even early in pregnancy, the truth is that it's not as straightforward as one might think. The guidelines doctors use to determine whether a miscarriage has occurred or not are not as accurate as they should be, according to a recent study. This can mean that perfectly healthy pregnancies may be receiving unnecessary intervention when doctors mistakenly believe they have ended.
When women experience bleeding early in their pregnancy, it's possible that miscarriage has occurred. To find out, doctors use ultrasound to measure the gestational sac and the embryo at one time point, and then follow up with a second measurement one week to 10 days later to see whether growth has occurred. The new studies looked at how -- and how much -- fetuses change over time in the early weeks of pregnancy. . . .