Life of a Prem Baby Blog

One in 10 mothers give birth prematurely, a biological mystery that often comes with little warning and a sideshow of dangerous health repercussions. Doctors historically have had little luck predicting which women will deliver early, but now a new study presents a way to detect more than 80% of preterm births ahead of time, with a second-trimester blood test.

Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah identified three new peptide biomarkers that can forecast the likelihood of preterm birth when analyzed with other proteins. Peptides are short proteins that are composed of amino acids, as are ordinary proteins.

Realizing that a way of assessing risk for preterm birth could be game-changing, the universities patented the method for detecting the peptides; it has been licensed to a company called Sera Prognostics. Within a year, the company plans to roll out a diagnostic test that physicians can use in their offices.

Pregnant patients can volunteer for the blood draw; they would not have to pay since the initial testing would be considered part of the approval process mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to confirm that the method effectively predicts preterm birth.

In the current study, which appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers collected blood from 80 women who delivered prematurely and 80 who had full-term babies.

They found dramatically lower levels of the biomarkers in the women who delivered prematurely. Women were tested at 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. At 24 weeks, women who displayed lower peptide levels went on to have labor symptoms like contractions and dilation early, eight weeks later; when tested at 28 weeks, decreased levels predicted labor symptoms four weeks later. For women 28 weeks along, the peptides alone identified 65% of those who went on to deliver early; when combined with other proteins, the rate rose to 87%.

And the closer a woman was to delivering prematurely, the more dramatic the reductions in her biomarkers — despite displaying no signs or symptoms of premature labor. “These women felt and looked fine to their doctors, but their markers had changed,” says Steven Graves, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University who directed the research.

The possibility of a widely available test to predict prematurity is “an extremely important set of discoveries,” says Michael Katz, the senior vice president of research and global programs at the March of Dimes and professor emeritus of pediatrics at Columbia University.

Pregnant women, who are poked and prodded enough as is, will be happy to learn that this blood draw could be combined with the sample taken to screen for gestational diabetes between 26 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. “It would be very simple to add this test to that blood draw,” says Graves. “Currently there are no tests to indicate a woman is at risk for preterm birth. Right now, a doctor is required to bring a woman in every few weeks to be examined in his office in an effort to catch changes that might be an indication of preterm labor.”

Simply knowing that a woman is at high risk of premature birth won’t necessarily prevent it. But an at-risk woman can take precautions, such as limiting activity or going on bed rest. There are also drugs, such as the much-publicized Makena, a type of progesterone that can delay preterm labor in some pregnant women.

“The process by which labor begins has been shrouded in mystery,” says Katz. “The more of these discoveries we learn about, the more we will be able to make sense of these predictions. Eventually, all of this will fall into place.”


I still cant quite believe that Jenson is now 1 years old, where has the last year gone?!

Even though the year has flown by Jenson has come on in leaps and bounds over the last 12 months. From weighing a tiny 3 pound 14 ozs to now well over 20 pounds, to look at him you wouldnt know that Jenson had been born 8 weeks early.

Its scary to think that if things had of been different Jenson may not have made it through his first night without the help of the doctors and nurses on NNU. Im so very grateful for the staff that looked after Jenson during his stay in NNU, and I am a very proud mum and still marvel at every new thing that Jenson learns.

At Jenson’s last hospital appointment the consultant completely discharged him from the hospital, meaning no more check ups for Jenson. Such an immense relief! Knowing that after spending nearly a year going backwards and forwards to the hospital making sure that Jenson was developing properly was no longer needed was a huge weight off of our shoulders.

I remember the doctors telling us when Jenson was first born that it would take him up until he was around 2 years old to “catch up” with other children his age, at being told this I was shocked! That long?! As in previous blog posts Ive written about worrying over Jenson not being as developed for his age as he should be, but now thats all gone. The consultant was happy with Jensons development and basically told us he had caught up already.

And over the last few months Jenson has become less of a baby and more of a toddler, he is now starting to learn how to put the shapes into his shape sorted, he pushes his cars along the floor and has started to copy things that me and his Dad do.

Ar Jensons party last weeked my husband stood up and spoke about our proud of our son he is, mirroring my feelings.

Nobody tells you how tough its going to be being a parent, you can go to as many anti natel classes as you like but nothing can prepare you for the lifelong journey of being a parent. The journey is made even more tough and stressful when your son/daughter is born premature. Even now when Im sitting playing with Jenson I try to make special allowances when showing him how to do things, spending twice as long as I probably would have done, in the hope that his development will quicken.

I read an article in a magazine the other day that discussed the issue of children that are born at the end of the school year i.e. in August, and that results had shown that their development was significantly slower than those of their peers born in September. Will Jenson be doubly disadvantaged being born in August and being premature when he eventually starts school?? I guess this is something that can not be answered until he starts to go to School, but I know I will try my hardest to make sure Jenson isnt!

Ive attached a picture from Jensons birthday last weekend, enjoy 🙂

I have made another lovely handmade bracelet this week, check out the pic and let me know what you think!

Today heralds another trip to the hospital for Jenson, and I have my fingers crossed that the doctors will give us good news that Jenson is developing well and that the 8 weeks prematurity has not affected him in anyway.

Im also hoping to get some advice on the shape of his head today, as although over the last few months there has been a slight improvement, you can still see that the shape of his skull is flat. Thankfully Jenson has been blessed with a whole head of hair which makes it less obvious. Other people say Im worrying over nothing, I guess I just want a consultant at the hospital to tell me that his head will eventually right itself.

Im really hoping the doctors are pleased with this progress and development, being 8 weeks prematurity is such a huge gap in development terms, especially when Jenson starts school.

Lets hope for good news today 🙂 I have attached another pic for my readers of Jenson, over the last couple of weeks he has finally learnt to crawl! I will update my blog tomorrow with the results of our hospital visit.

So today I have a job interview, scheduled for 11:00am and wow has it been like a military operation this morning!

In order for me to get everything ready on time, Ive had to get up before 7:00am (some of you may think this is pretty late considering Jenson is only 10 months old, but we are very lucky that Jenson likes his sleep and will sleep in till about 8:30am every day, bliss!), so Ive had to make sure I get myself dressed, that Ive had my breakfast and that the car is all loaded up with Jensons things (which ends up filling the whole boot!) and all this before 8:00am!

Jenson is now fed and watered and is taking a quick nap before we have to leave for Nanny’s in about half an hour, then once there I can relax for a bit and prep myself for the interview.

Who ever said parenting was easy?!

Yesterday Jenson turned 10 months old and it made me realise just how quick those last 10 months have gone, and just how much Jenson has changed. Me and my husband are already planning Jensons birthday party but both of us cant believe how lucky we are to have Jenson here at all.

Over the last few weeks Ive found myself looking back on the photos of when Jenson was first born, and realising just how tiny he was and how far he has come since the 6th August. Ive also found myself thinking about friends that are currently expecting babies and as they go past 31 weeks+6 days without any hiccups I still wonder why I was unfortunate to go into premature labour? A question I guess I will never have answered.

To this day I still think some people dont realise just how touch and go it was when Jenson was born, and to be honest at the time I dont think neither me or my husband fully understood how critical Jenson was.
In the last 10 months Jenson has gone from the tiniest thing in the world to a little boy that likes to climb over everything, grab eveything he isnt supposed to have and throwing the mother of all temper tantrums when he gets told off!

But I wouldnt change him for the world and I cant wait to celebrate his 1st birthday and tell everyone how proud of my little boy I am 🙂

Firstly, apologies to all my readers, things have been really hectic the last few months and I just havent had a chance to update my blog, I feel really bad :0(

So the good news is I am back and raring to go and I have so much to catch up on on here! Jenson really is coming on in leaps and bounds at the moment, and I intend on writing all about it in the next few blogs.

Topics to be covered are YET more teeth, crawling or not to crawl, sitting up, I can stand!, eating and the list goes on! So much has happened in the last few months, I have only just realised how much!

So stay tuned peeps, and I will be back to update you all with our latest stories and also with some updated pics too :0)

Take care x

April 2018
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