What Is Fetal Fibronectin (fFN)?
Fetal fibronectin (also known as fFN) is a “glue-like” protein that bonds your developing baby to your uterus. (see 2nd graph). Fetal fibronectin is detectable in vaginal secretions in the very beginning of pregnancy, when this bond is first forming, and then again at the end of pregnancy, when your body is getting ready to deliver your baby.
When your body is getting ready to give birth, this glue breaks down and leaks out of the uterus. Measuring the level of fetal fibronectin through a simple test can show if your body is getting ready to give birth.
How does fetal fibronectin work?
fFN is a special protein that literally holds your baby in place in the womb. After the 35th week of pregnancy, it begins to break down naturally, and is detectable. If your body is getting ready to give birth prematurely, fFN may be detected before week 35.
Who Is At Risk for Preterm Birth?
Certain medical risks during pregnancy may increase the likelihood that a woman will have preterm labor. These conditions include:
#Previous preterm birth — women who've already delivered a baby early (before 37 weeks) in a previous pregnancy. Also, women who've experienced symptoms of preterm labor in a previous pregnancy are at an increased risk.
#Twins or triplets — women who are carrying twins, triplets, or more at an increased risk. the added weight and pressure of increased babies can lead to an early delivery.
#Cervical or uterine abnormalities —cervical or uterine abnormalities can be a result of surgery or detected by a doctor or nurse midwife. These abnormalities can limit space for the baby to grow, interfere with blood supply to the baby, or weaken the cervix.
#Previous miscarriage(s) — a miscarriage is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks. There are multiple reasons for a woman to experience a miscarriage; one reason is a cervical or uterine abnormality.
Other medical conditions that may increase the likelihood of preterm labor: zexually transmitted infections, Diabetes, High blood pressure, Clotting disorders (thrombophilia), Certain birth defects in the baby, Being underweight before pregnancy, Obesity, Short time period between pregnancies.
Certain lifestyle factors may put a woman at greater risk for preterm labor. These factors include: Late or no prenatal care, Smoking, Drinking alcohol, Using illegal drugs, Domestic violence, Stress, Long working hours with long periods of standing
What Are the Symptoms of Preterm Labor?
the warning signs of preterm labor can include:
#Contractions (your abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes, or more often
#Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
#Pelvic pressure — the feeling that your baby is pushing down
#Low, dull backache
#Cramps that feel like your period
#Abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea
more information about Fetal Fibronectin , at uTube below
What is a Fetal Fibronectin Test?
From weeks 22 to 35 of pregnancy, fetal fibronectin should be almost undetectable. This test is a non-invasive, safe, reliable, SWAB test to detects the presence of fetal fibronectin, which can indicate if your body is getting ready for a premature deliver, even before you feel any of the symptoms.
How much fetal fibronectin is normal?
From weeks 22 to 35 in your pregnancy, there should be very little fFN detectable. (see 3th graph)
A fetal fibronectin test can help your doctor accurately assess the symptoms you may be experiencing during your pregnancy. A negative test result can give you great peace of mind — you can be 99.2% assured that you will not deliver in the next 14 days. A positive test result does not guarantee that you will deliver early; however, there is an increased risk for preterm delivery. A positive test result can tell you and your doctor that you may need special attention and care, such as bed rest or medication. It is also possible to repeat the test as often as every two weeks to monitor your ongoing risk.
The fFN Test uses color immunochromatographic, capillary flow technology. The test procedure requires the solubilization of fFN from a vaginal swab by mixing the swab in Sample Buffer. Then the mixed sample buffer is added to the test cassette sample well and the mixture migrates along the membrane surface. If fFN is present in the sample, it will form a complex with the primary anti- fFN antibody conjugated to colored particles. The complex will then be bound by a second anti- fFN antibody coated on the nitrocellulose membrane. The appearance of a visible test line along with the control line will indicate a positive result.
Positive test results
For women at risk with symptoms of preterm labor, a positive test result may warrant consideration of increased patient surveillance and management. For women at risk but with no current symptoms of preterm labor, a positive test result may impact care decisions, such as increased intensity of prenatal observation, evaluation of other risk factors, increased patient education, and possible earlier intervention.
Negative test results
A negative test result helps make it possible to reassure that patient is highly unlikely to deliver within the next two weeks. It may also help you avoid unnecessary interventions.