The PreTRM® Test
Know Your Risk for Delivering a Premature Baby
Most women think having a premature baby will never happen to them. But it can happen to anyone—even the healthiest woman! In fact, while the biggest risk factor is having a prior premature baby, up to 50% of premature births happen to women with no obvious risk factors. And 40% of premature births happen to first-time moms!
The PreTRM® test is a new blood test that will tell you your risk for delivering prematurely for this pregnancy. Your blood is tested during your 19th or 20th week of pregnancy; the PreTRM test detects protein levels in your blood that are highly predictive of premature birth. Knowing you are at risk of delivering your baby too early gives you time to plan and prepare for a potential premature delivery.
Do I need the PreTRM test?
- Traditional methods to predict premature birth, such as measuring your cervix or your previous history of a premature baby, fail to predict the vast majority, approximately 80%, of women who will deliver their babies prematurely. This means that these women are not getting the extra care that could help them.
- For many women, knowing that your baby may deliver prematurely gives you and your doctor the power to prepare to get extra care for your pregnancy with the goal of having a healthy baby. This is especially true for women who:
- Have had difficulty getting pregnant
- Decided to start a family after the age of 35
- Have suffered prior pregnancy losses
- Needed assistance to get pregnant, e.g., IVF
- Know someone who has had a premature baby
- If you know you're at increased risk, you and your doctor can create a plan to address your risk. This could include, but not limited to, more frequent visits with your ObGyn, and seeing a high-risk pregnancy specialist (Maternal Fetal Medicine).
How accurate is the PreTRM test?
The PreTRM test measures proteins in the blood that are highly predictive of babies being born prematurely. The PreTRM test is predictive of preterm delivery in women pregnant with a single baby, when blood is tested during your 19th or 20th week of pregnancy, with reported "spontaneous* premature birth prediction" Area Under the Curve (AUC) ranging between 0.75 and 0.935(where a 1.0 score is "perfect" and a .50 score is the same as chance).
- The test's accuracy was rigorously validated in a large clinical study involving 5,500 women in 11 obstetric centers across the U.S.
- The test validation study was published in May 2016 as the "Editor's Choice" lead article in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology: Development and validation of a spontaneous preterm delivery predictor in asymptomatic women
* Spontaneous premature birth is a birth that happens early—at least 3 weeks early—that is unexpected and not medically induced. Most premature births are "spontaneous".
What does the PreTRM test result mean?
- The PreTRM test gives you a percentage risk of delivering before 37 weeks, comparing your personal risk to the average risk of all women pregnant with a single baby.
- The result of the PreTRM test is not a positive or negative (yes or no) result but an "individual risk prediction" of having your baby too early.
- If you are shown to be higher than average risk for all pregnancies (which is 7.3% for Spontaneous premature birth* for all women pregnant with a single baby), there are established treatments that you and your doctor can consider to address your risk.
- You will have the information so that you can plan and be prepared for a potential early delivery. It’s important to prepare physically and emotionally.
How do I get tested?
Your doctor will order the blood test and fill out a Test Request Form (TRF) for you to take to your local Labcorp patient service centers. It is very important that you have your blood drawn for testing in your 19th or 20th week of pregnancy, which will be indicated on the TRF. Your doctor will have your PreTRM test results within about 2 weeks.