What is preterm birth?

Preterm birth is defined as a birth before 37 weeks of gestation (about 8 months and 1 week). The earlier a baby is born, the greater the chance that he or she will have health problems.1 Many of the problems caused by preterm birth can be managed or treated. However, some babies who are born prematurely will face lifelong health challenges. Additionally, half of all preterm births occur in women with no known risks.2


Preterm birth risk test


The Rapid fFN® test is one of the most powerful predictors of preterm birth and is commonly used in patients experiencing symptoms of preterm labor.2


What are the symptoms of preterm labor?


Even if you don’t have any known risk factors, you should be aware of the warning signs of preterm labor.
Contact your doctor, nurse or midwife if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:3

  • 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 (feeling that your baby is pushing down)
  • Low, dull backache
  • Cramps that feel like your period
  • Abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea

Learn the signs of preterm labor and how fFN testing can help determine your risk of a preterm birth.


Who is at risk?


Although half of all preterm births occur in women with no known risk factors, several issues can make preterm delivery more likely.2

Biological Risk Icon

Biological risk factors4

Environmental Risk Icon

Lifestyle and environmental risk factors4

  • Late or no prenatal care
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using illegal drugs or abusing prescription drugs
  • Domestic violence, including physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Lack of social support
  • Stress
  • Long working hours with long periods of standing
  • Exposure to certain environmental pollutants


Talk to your doctor


Download our Rapid fFN® test discussion guide to help you and your doctor determine the right choice when assessing your risk of preterm birth.