To investigate whether the fetal fibronectin assay would be useful for determining if a woman was close to a term delivery. If effective, this test would allow parturient women to stay in their communities longer.
This feasibility study used a prospective cohort design to examine the negative predictive value of the fetal fibronectin test at term.
A total of 30 parturient women from rural and isolated communities in Nunavut.
Starting at 36 weeks' gestation, women were tested every 2 days, and after 39 weeks this increased to every day until labour.
The negative predictive value of the fetal fibronectin test was assessed.
Women were no more likely to give birth at 7 or more days after their last negative fetal fibronectin test result relative to their likelihood of giving birth at 6 or fewer days after their last negative test result. Hence, the presence of fetal fibronectin in cervical secretion did not predict term delivery.
This project indicated that the fetal fibronectin test did not have adequate sensitivity or specificity as a diagnostic measure to predict a delay of labour at term.