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FAQs about Preterm Birth and FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test
What is preterm birth?
Babies born before 37 weeks gestation are considered preterm. They can also be called premature, or preemies.
How common is preterm birth?
According to the March of Dimes, nearly 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. are born preterm. That is over 12.5% of babies born in the U.S. In addition, this rate has increased over 31% since 1981. Each and every state in the country has seen its rate of preterm birth increase since 1983. Today, a preterm baby is born nearly every minute in the U.S.
What are the possible complications of preterm birth?
Some babies born preterm are fine; they are just small. However, when a baby is born preterm, his or her organ systems may not have had enough time to grow. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the March of Dimes, preterm birth is responsible for:
How many preterm babies are born in the U.S.?
- Three-quarters of all newborn deaths in the U.S. and
- One-half of newborn neurological problems. These problems can include deafness, blindness, mental retardation, learning disabilities and cerebral palsy.
According to the March of Dimes, there are over 500,000 preterm births in the U.S. every year. A preterm baby is born nearly every minute.
FAQs about FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test
What is FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test (fFN)?
FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test is a test that measures the amount of fetal fibronectin in your vagina. Fetal fibronectin is like a "glue" that your body produces to help hold the baby in place in your womb. Normally, from 22 to 35 weeks gestation only a very tiny amount of this "glue" is found in the vagina. Around 35 weeks the amount starts to increase, probably because your body is preparing to give birth.
Why is knowing my fetal fibronectin test result important?
We know you want to do everything you can to help protect your baby. That is why the following fact is so important: the majority of women who have a FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test will have normal results. This can be very reassuring! Also, over 99.5% of women with signs and symptoms of preterm birth who have a normal (negative) fetal fibronectin result will not have their baby within the next 7 days. Moreover, in studies of women with risk factors but no symptoms and a normal test result when measured at 22-24 weeks had a less than 1% chance of delivering within the next 4 weeks.
As some of the women who have had the test told us, a normal (negative) result gave them great "peace of mind".
An elevated (positive) fetal fibronectin result does not always mean the baby will be born preterm. However, women who test positive are at significantly higher risk for preterm birth. Knowing your fetal fibronectin is elevated can help you and your doctor manage your pregnancy and keep your baby in your womb as long as possible. Your doctor has options and may prescribe treatments like bed rest, tocolytic drugs, or corticosteroids. Every extra day in the womb helps your baby's organs grow.
How is FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test done?
FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test is simple. It is somewhat like a Pap smear. Your doctor or nurse-midwife takes a swab of the secretions in your vagina near the cervix. It is a non-invasive test; no blood is drawn.
When should I get FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test?
The test can be performed from 22 to 35 weeks gestation.
Is the test FDA approved?
Are there any side effects to FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test?
No, the test is done like a Pap smear, there are no side effects to the test.
How accurate is FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test?
FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test is the single strongest independent predictor of preterm birth risk at less than 32 weeks.
Can I have the test more than once?
Yes. It can be taken multiple times from 22 to 35 weeks gestation.
If I went to the hospital and they did a FullTermT, The Fetal Fibronectin Test, should I ask my doctor for another test at my next visit?
Reprinted with permission of Adeza
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