Pregnolia - Preventive examination to assess the risk of premature birth

  28. February 2023

Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks. If the baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called a premature birth. A distinction is also made between a "very early premature birth", in which the baby is born before 28 weeks of pregnancy, an "early" premature birth between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy and a "late" premature birth, i.e. a birth between 34 and 37 weeks of pregnancy.

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, 6.4% of children born in Switzerland in 2021 and 2020 were born prematurely, i.e. before the 37th week of pregnancy. The proportion of very early preterm births (between the 22nd and 31st week of pregnancy) has hardly changed since 2007.

Premature birth attempts and premature births are processes in pregnancy that we still cannot reliably predict today and cannot always prevent. Half of premature births occur suddenly without any previous symptoms or causes. One of the reasons for premature birth may be a weakness of the cervix.

During pregnancy, the cervix becomes softer and shorter. This process leads to a complete opening of the cervix at birth. If this process occurs too early in pregnancy, it can be a sign of impending premature birth attempts. Identifying these changes as early as possible enables us to better assess the risk of premature birth and to take measures. For many years, we have been measuring the length of the cervix with ultrasound in high-risk patients. However, studies have shown that the cervix softens before it shortens. By scanning the cervix, its strength can be assessed subjectively. Based on a research project by ETH Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich, Pregnolia has developed a measuring device to improve this assessment. The Pregnolia system now offers us the opportunity to objectify the stiffness of the tissue of the cervix. The examination is performed during a vaginal examination and is painless and safe for you and the baby. The optimal time for this examination is between the 22nd and 26th week of pregnancy.

It is a novel test procedure, whereby the costs are so far only covered by a few health insurance companies within the framework of the supplementary insurance. However, the assumption of costs is negotiated with other health insurance companies. The examination costs a total of 260 CHF and the invoice can then be submitted to your health insurance company.

If you are interested in carrying out this examination, please contact us so that we can organize a corresponding appointment for you in our practice.

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