What is FFN test?

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FFN or fetal fibronectin test is a screening test done during pregnancy to determine whether a woman is expected to have premature labor at some point during late pregnancy. Some women are considered at risk to experiencing preterm or premature labor and a FFN test may help doctors determine probability and help affected women prepare for a safe delivery.

Fetal fibronectin is a type of protein that is produced by the developing fetus inside a woman’s womb.  These cells are typically formed at the area where the fetal sac and lining of the uterus meets.  In common terms, FFN or fetal fibronectin provides adhesion between the fetal sac and the uterine lining.  Anytime this part of the womb is disturbed, some of this protein will be discharged through vaginal secretions.  When this happens, a positive FFN screening test may result and could indicate possible preterm labor and even delivery.

FFN tests are done through vaginal swabbing.  In the actual procedure, a sterile speculum is typically inserted into the woman’s vagina for several seconds to ensure that secretions are absorbed.  The sample secretions will then be tested under specific laboratory conditions to check if FFN or fetal fibronectin is present.  For women who are considered high-risk for preterm labor and delivery, FFN screening tests may be prescribed by doctors starting on the 22nd week of pregnancy up to the 34th week.  Negative results are considered good predictors that preterm labor will not occur in the coming week or so.  Positive results meanwhile may mean two things.  One is that the woman tested is expected to have premature labor in the coming days.  In other cases, a positive FFN screening test may also mean that preterm labor does occur but only after several days or even weeks.  In most cases, FFN tests are done for monitoring purposes and to help high-risk women to eventually have a safe delivery.

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