Fetal fibronectin is a protein that's believed to help keep the amniotic sac "glued" to the lining of the uterus. The amniotic sac is the fluid-filled membrane that cushions your baby in the uterus.

Fetal fibronectin is often present in vaginal discharge before week 22 of pregnancy. Fetal fibronectin also begins to break down and can be detected in vaginal discharge toward the end of pregnancy.

If your health care provider is concerned about preterm labor, he or she might test a swab of secretions near your cervix for the presence of fetal fibronectin between week 22 and week 34 of pregnancy. A positive fetal fibronectin test is a clue that the "glue" has been disturbed and you're at increased risk of preterm labor.