If you go to the hospital experiencing contractions and you’re preterm, your doctor may order a fetal fibronectin test, or fFN. And this basically involves a swab - a sample from the cervix is collected and sent off. And results usually don’t take too long to come back, and it will either be a positive or a negative result. And what it’s looking for is the presence of a protein that is an indicator of an increased risk for preterm delivery. This protein may be released from the body during times of inflammation, or infection, or contractions, or abruption where the placenta starts to prematurely detach from the uterine wall. So all of these conditions put a woman at greater risk for preterm, and thus, the protein may be present. And so if the result comes back negative, then the likelihood that the woman will deliver in the next 2 weeks is not very high at all, and so everyone takes a little sigh of relief, although it’s not an absolute. If the result comes back positive, you’ll definitely be on your OB provider’s radar for being at risk for preterm delivery, and the likelihood of delivering within the next 1 to 2 weeks is high. With that said, there are, in some circumstances, false positives, especially if the woman was experiencing vaginal bleeding at the time of collection and there was any blood on the swab. That’s likely to make it false positive and that’s taken into consideration. Because a fetal fibronectin result is only reliable for 2 weeks at a time, you may get multiple fetal fibronectin tests over the course of pregnancy if you’re able to buy some time and continue on in the pregnancy, but you’re also still having signs of preterm labor. In other words, if I went into the hospital 2 weeks ago and had a negative fetal fibronectin test done and I went back in today because I was contracting, you could expect to have another test repeated, because the results are only good for 2 weeks at a time. At the end of the day, it’s important, whether the result is positive or negative, to watch for signs of preterm labor and to get checked out as soon as possible if you experience lower abdominal cramping, lower backache, abdominal tightening, pressure, any leaking of fluid, or vaginal bleeding. And they can perform an exam and determine if you are threatening to deliver early. There are interventions that, in some cases, can delay labor, and help buy a woman some time, and keep that baby cooking longer. It’s always better to get checked out sooner rather than later, because the sooner you’re checked out, the better the chance is that the interventions will help. If you have more specific questions about your circumstances, talk with your OB provider and they’ll be able to offer you tailored information and advice. If you have more questions in the future for me, feel free to ask them on our Intermountain Moms Facebook and Instagram pages, and recommend us to your friends and family too.