WellSpan Home

Preterm Labor: Testing for Fetal Fibronectin

Topic Overview

During pregnancy, a uterine infection causes inflammation, which can trigger preterm labor. This inflammation can also stimulate the amnion cells to produce fetal fibronectin, a protein.

Fetal fibronectin testing is sometimes done when preterm labor symptoms are present. When the fetal fibronectin test is negative, it is unlikely that you are having preterm labor. But even if the test is positive, it does not mean for sure that you are having preterm labor.

For fetal fibronectin testing, a sample of fluid is collected from the vagina or the opening to the uterus (cervix). First, a speculum is used to spread the walls of the vagina to view the cervix. Next, a sterile swab is used to absorb fluid from the cervix or vagina. The speculum is removed and the swab is sent to the laboratory for testing.

A negative test result is quite accurate and shows that labor has not started. A positive test result may show that labor has started, but false-positive results are common. False-positive results can occur if a woman has recently had:

  • A pelvic exam. To reduce the risk of a false-positive result, it is important that a fetal fibronectin test be done before a manual pelvic exam.
  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Uterine contractions.
  • Bleeding from the vagina.

The fetal fibronectin test is:

  • Somewhat expensive and may not be available in all medical testing centers.
  • Not useful for predicting labor in women at risk for preterm labor.
  • Helpful only for women with symptoms of preterm labor.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology

Current as ofNovember 21, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×