SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)

Say YES to your FREE SUBSCRIPTION today! Simply fill in the form below and click "Subscribe". You'll receive American Baby® magazine ABSOLUTELY FREE! (U.S. requests only)

Email:

First Name:

Last Name:

Address:

City:

State:

Zip:

Mother's Birth State: 
Is this your first child?
Yes
No
Due date or child's birthdate:
Your first FREE issue of American Baby® Magazine packed with great tips and expert advice will arrive within 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, your e-mail address is required to access your account and member benefits online, but rest assured that we will not share your e-mail address with anyone. Free subscription is subject to publisher's qualifications. Publisher bases number of issues served on birth and due dates provided. Click here to view our privacy policy.

Q&A: Fibronectin Tests

Q. I called my doctor this morning because I was having cramps. I was afraid I was in labor already, even though there are weeks and weeks to go before my due date. She said I should come in for a fetal fibronectin test. I'm nervous. Does the test hurt? What will it tell me?

A. A lot of things can cause cramping during pregnancy that may be mistaken for preterm labor. The fetal fibronectin test is one way that your provider can decide whether this is true labor and whether you're in danger of delivering your baby immediately.

This test certainly won't hurt; the procedure is basically identical to a Pap smear. Your practitioner will swab your vaginal and cervical secretions and send the samples to a laboratory. A technician will then evaluate the secretions for any evidence of fetal fibronectin, a protein found in amniotic fluid.

The presence of fibronectin can indicate an increased risk of delivering your baby too early. If you test positive, your practitioner may ask you to decrease your activity or possibly to stay in the hospital. She may also prescribe medication to stop the contractions, or she may give you steroids to help your baby's lungs mature faster.

If the test is negative, your cramping is probably not a sign of preterm labor, and you are much less likely to be at risk of going into labor in the immediate future.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.