What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Premature Labor?

When a doctor suspects that a patient may be in premature labor, they can use a variety of tests to diagnose the condition. The doctor can evaluate the firmness and tenderness of the uterus and the size and position of the baby. A transvaginal ultrasound may be used to measure the length of the cervix. The fetal fibronectin (fFN) test is used to rule out premature birth and can provide valuable information if you have

signs or symptoms of preterm birth

.In most cases, the fFn test is performed on women who show

signs of preterm birth


Tests for fFn can help predict which pregnant women who show signs of

preterm birth

will have a preterm delivery.2 They are generally used because of their negative predictive value, meaning that, if negative, the woman is unlikely to give birth in the next 7 days. Spontaneous preterm birth can be predicted by means of a serial digital examination or a transvaginal ultrasound of the cervix. Fetal fibronectin detected in cervico-vaginal secretions can also be used.The combination of cervical ultrasound and fetal fibronectin provides the best prediction of progression to preterm delivery. If you have symptoms of preterm birth or are at risk of having a premature birth, your healthcare provider may suggest a fetal fibronectin (fFN) test.

It's a painless test that tests vaginal fluid for a specific protein that helps “stick” the amniotic sac to the uterus during pregnancy. Tests for fFn can help predict which pregnant women who show

signs of preterm birth

will have a premature birth.Depending on your symptoms and condition, your pregnancy care provider may request additional tests, such as an ultrasound. Providers can also test fFn on people at high risk of preterm birth, even without any signs of delivery. A positive fetal fibronectin test result indicates that the glue has been altered and that you are at greater risk of giving birth prematurely within seven days.

If the fetal fibronectin test is positive, the healthcare provider can take steps to address premature birth, such as giving medications to improve the baby's lung maturity.Bleeding and premature rupture of membranes in any pregnancy are associated with higher rates of premature births. Providers generally don't recommend this test for low-risk pregnancies or for people without symptoms of preterm birth. If your pregnancy care provider suspects that you're at risk of having a premature birth, they may test you for fetal fibronectin to check for fetal fibronectin in your vaginal fluid. In most cases, pregnancy care providers only test for fetal fibronectin if the person shows

signs of preterm labor

.The test only tells your provider that you are at risk of having a premature birth, not that you will give birth permanently.

If you test positive between weeks 22 and 34, you're at greater risk of preterm birth within seven days. If your healthcare provider is concerned about preterm delivery, they may test these secretions with a swab for fetal fibronectin between week 22 and 34 weeks of pregnancy.

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