Preterm Birth: Would You Test Your Chances For It?

Michele Zipp
preemie footprints

Photo by PrinceEdsmommy

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and I just learned of a test that can predict a woman's risk for preterm birth -- it's called fetal fibronectin testing (fFN Test) and it's similar to getting a Pap test.

I've never been more aware of preterm birth than I am right now -- I'm in the high risk category since I'm having twins. But I'm just about 34 weeks pregnant now, so I'm in a good place. But what about others with risk factors? Who is at risk?

The March of Dimes and The Institute of Medicine offered up some factors on who is at risk for preterm birth.

  •  Women who have had a previous preterm birth.
  • Those who are pregnant with multiple babies.
  • Women with a short cervix.
  • Late or no prenatal care.
  • High blood pressure, diabetes, clotting disorders, being underweight before pregnancy, obesity, or other chronic health problems in the mother
  • Certain infections during pregnancy.
  • Domestic violence, including physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Lack of social support and stress.
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or illicit drug use during pregnancy.

The study says that the "presence of fetal fibronectin is the single strongest independent predictor of preterm birth at less than 32 weeks." And the test can be done right in a doctor's office, usually at around 22 weeks.

For more information on preterm birth, visit Both patients and physicians can learn more about fetal fibronectin testing at

Would you get tested to learn your chances of preterm birth?


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