Results of the fetal fibronectin test are either positive or negative:
- Positive. A positive result means that fetal fibronectin is present. If you have a positive result between weeks 22 and 34, you're at increased risk of preterm labor. Your health care provider might suggest that you avoid tiring tasks or prescribe a brief course of medication to help prevent preterm labor. You might also be given an injection of potent steroids to speed your baby's lung maturity.
- Negative. A negative result means that fetal fibronectin isn't present. This indicates that your pregnancy is likely to continue for at least another week. In fact, a negative result might be the most powerful benefit of the test — allowing you and your health care provider to relax a bit with the knowledge that a premature birth isn't imminent.
Whether your test results are positive or negative, remember that prompt recognition of preterm labor might give your health care provider a chance to delay preterm labor or improve your baby's readiness for birth.
If you're concerned that you might be going into labor early, contact your health care provider. Don't worry about mistaking false labor for the real thing.
Warning signs of preterm labor include:
May 10, 2013
- Regular or frequent contractions — a tightening sensation in the abdomen
- Constant low, dull backache
- A sensation of pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
- Mild abdominal cramps
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Watery vaginal discharge (water breaking) — in a gush or a trickle
- A change in vaginal discharge
- Lockwood CJ. Fetal fibronectin for prediction of preterm labor and delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
- Lockwood CJ. Overview of preterm labor and birth. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ173. Early preterm birth. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq173.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130215T1057545204. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ087. Preterm labor. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq087.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130131T1258459154. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
- Sanchez-Ramos L, et al. Fetal fibronectin as a short-term predictor of preterm birth in symptomatic patients: A meta-analysis. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2009;114:631.
- DeFranco EA, et al. Improving the screening accuracy for preterm labor: Is the combination of fetal fibronectin and cervical length in symptomatic patients a useful predictor of preterm birth? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In press. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Berghella V. Transvaginal ultrasound assessment of the cervix and prediction of spontaneous preterm birth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Healthy pregnancy: Staying healthy and safe. The National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.cfm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010:363.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 15, 2013.