Testing your risk of preterm birth
Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show over 25,000 preterm births occur annually (prior to 37 weeks) - that's around 1 in 12 births in Australia.1
The causes are not fully understood, and in up to half of all preterm births, the cause remains a mystery.2 However, there are some related risk factors to be aware of.2 If your doctor has determined you are at risk, he or she will provide you with additional information.
Understanding your risks can help your doctor and you work out a suitable management plan. Any of the following factors may mean you are at risk of preterm birth.3
Please contact your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns about your risk of preterm birth.
Even if you do not have any known risks, you should
contact your doctor or midwife if you have any
symptoms of preterm labour, which may include:
Please contact your doctor or midwife if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or if you have any concerns about your risk of preterm birth.
Fetal fibronectin (fFN) is a "glue-like" protein that binds the membranes around the baby to the uterus. It is detectable in vaginal secretions at the very beginning of pregnancy, when this bond is first forming and then again at the end of your pregnancy.
From weeks 22 to 35, this "glue" should be almost undetectable. If it is detectable during this time frame, it could indicate your body is getting ready to deliver early. The quantitative fFN test not only detects if fFN is present, but how much is present to help your doctor determine your best management pathway.5
Your doctor will advise if the Rapid fFN Test is suitable for you.
If you are experiencing symptoms of preterm labour - or if you are at risk of preterm birth - your doctor may perform a quantitative fFN test. This test measures the amount of fetal fibronectin (fFN) in your vaginal secretions, which provides an indication of your risk of preterm birth.
If you have symptoms, this test helps your doctor decide whether you should be admitted for treatment, observed for further diagnosis, transferred to a specialist hospital or discharged.5,6
If you do not have symptoms but remain at risk, the test result can assist your doctor to determine the best plan for your pregnancy.