This test measures the amount of fetal fibronectin (fFN), a protein made during pregnancy. It's found between the lining of your uterus and the amniotic sac that's protecting your baby. Fetal fibronectin works as a glue to hold the amniotic sac to the uterine lining.
This test helps determine whether you're at risk for premature delivery. The protein is present in cervical and vaginal fluid during the first half of your pregnancy and then disappears. It should reappear only in the last month before you deliver.
If you're at risk of delivering your baby prematurely, your doctor may order an fFN test. Your doctor may order this test if you have any symptoms of premature labor, including:
Pelvic pressure or cramping
Thinning or dilation of the cervix
Your doctor may also order this test if you don't have symptoms but you have a history of preterm labor or if you have a short cervix.
Your doctor may also order a vaginal ultrasound if you test positive for fFN but don't have signs of labor.
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.
Your doctor will report your results as either positive, meaning fFN is present, or negative, meaning fFN isn't present.
If you test positive but have no signs of labor, you may be at risk for both premature labor and premature delivery. If you test positive and you have symptoms of premature labor, your doctor will want to monitor you closely.
A negative test result means you're not likely to go into labor within the next two weeks.
The test requires a sample of cervical fluid and is much like a Pap test. Your doctor will place a speculum in your vagina and take a swab of cervical fluid from the area just outside the opening of your cervix.
This test poses no known risks.
Your test results may be affected by a yeast infection, using lubricants or douches, or having had sex within 24 hours of the test. Certain medical conditions and certain medications may cause excessive bleeding.
You don't need to prepare for this test. But you should avoid having sex within 24 hours of the test. Also avoid putting anything, such as lubricants or douches, into your vagina before the test.