Glossary of Terms


When the muscles of your uterus get tight and then relax. Contractions help push your baby out of your uterus.

Fetal fibronectin

A “glue-like” protein that bonds your baby to your uterus. When your body is getting ready for delivery, this glue breaks down and leaks from the uterus.

Fetal fibronectin testing

A safe, reliable, non-invasive test similar to a Pap test that measures your level of fetal fibronectin. This test indicates whether you may be at increased risk for preterm birth.

Full term

A pregnancy that lasts from 39 to 41 weeks.



Induced labor

When your doctor gives you medication to make you start labor.


The process of giving birth to a baby; also called childbirth.


Having to do with being pregnant or being a mother. For example, pregnant women wear maternity clothes.

Negative test result

Means that the presence of fetal fibronectin has not been detected (<50 ng/mL) and labor is not likely within the next 2 weeks.


Means that no cutting or drawing of blood is involved in the procedure.

Pap test

A screening test, usually for cancer of the female genital tract, in which a sample is taken using a swab and is then sent to a lab for processing and a test result.

Positive test result

Means that the abnormal presence (>/=50 ng/mL) of fetal fibronectin has been detected, and that you therefore may be at increased risk of having your baby early. It is important to note that a positive test result does not mean that a patient will definitely deliver early, but rather indicates an increased risk for delivering early.

Premature baby

A baby born too early, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Preterm labor

Labor that occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Spontaneous delivery

When a baby is born without being induced.


A small piece of absorbent material attached to the end of a stick used for obtaining a specimen sample.


Also called the womb. A pear-shaped organ that holds and nourishes your growing baby during pregnancy.


Also called the uterus. A pear-shaped organ that holds and nourishes your growing baby during pregnancy.


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