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Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jun;101(6):1254-60.

Predicting term and preterm delivery with transabdominal uterine electromyography.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1062, USA.



To determine whether delivery can be predicted using transabdominal uterine electromyography.


A total of 99 patients were grouped as either term (37 weeks or more) or preterm (less than 37 weeks). Uterine electrical activity was recorded for 30 minutes in clinic. Electromyographic "bursts" were evaluated to determine the power density spectrum. Measurement-to-delivery time was compared with the average power density spectrum's peak frequency. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed for 48, 24, 12, and 8 hours from term delivery, and 6, 4, 2, and 1 day(s) from preterm delivery.


The power density spectrum peak frequency increased as the measurement-to-delivery interval decreased. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis gave high positive and negative predictive values for both term and preterm delivery. At term, the average power density spectrum peak frequency was significantly higher for the 24-or-fewer-hours-to-delivery group than for the more-than-24-hours-to-delivery group, whereas at preterm, the average power density spectrum peak frequency was significantly higher in the 4-or-fewer-days-to-delivery group than in the more-than-4-days-to-delivery group (P <.05).


Transabdominal uterine electromyography predicts delivery within 24 hours at term and within 4 days preterm. This methodology offers many advantages and benefits that are not available with present uterine monitoring systems.

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