Benefits of Standardized Fetal Fibronectin (fFN) Testing

When you have the ability to distinguish the patients who are truly in labor from those who are not, every patient who presents in triage with signs and symptoms of suspected preterm labor can benefit — not only those who test negative.

Standardization benefits hospitals because:1

  • Preterm labor is one of the most common reasons for antenatal hospitalizations
  • Unnecessary admissions and treatments are contributing to rising healthcare costs, with total national expenditures for preterm labor hospitalizations estimated at $999 million annually
  • Healthcare costs are proven to be reduced by adopting and adhering to protocols centered on evidence-based medicine

Hospitals that standardize their preterm birth-management can, within a relatively brief timeline, achieve:

  • Timely and appropriate interventions
  • Hospitalization of only those patients at greatest risk of preterm delivery
  • Effective transport of preterm labor patients to higher, more appropriate level of care
  • Avoidance of unnecessary treatments, interventions, and medications
  • Staff availability for cases with the greatest medical needs

In a recent consensus document, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded that:

“Protocols and checklists have been proven to improve patient safety through standardization and communication. Standardization of practice to improve quality outcomes is an important tool in achieving the shared vision of patients and their health care providers.”2

The aim of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) document is to supply clinical providers with easy-to-use practice algorithms and other materials to better implement clinical screening and interventions to prevent PTB, and especially to prevent the burden of PTB.

Go to to access the SMFM Preterm Birth Toolkit.



  1. Rose CH, McWeeney DT, Brost BC, Davies NP, Watson WJ. Cost-effective standardization of preterm labor evaluation. Am J Obset Gynecol. 2010;203(3):250.
  2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, Committee on Professional Liability.  ACOG Committee Opinion No. 629: Clinical guidelines and standardization of practice to improve outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;125:1027-1029.


ACOG on Standardization

An ACOG Committee Opinion recommends practice standardization to improve outcomes.

Get full text from PubMed



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