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Preterm Labor

Screening and Tests for Preterm Labor

Screening for preterm labor usually occurs in a hospital’s labor and delivery area. An electronic monitor placed over the woman’s abdomen may be used to check the frequency, duration and strength of the mother’s contractions; the fetal heart rate may be monitored as well.

In addition, tests for premature rupture of the amniotic sac and fetal fibronectin, a protein found between the fetal membranes and uterine lining that may be released when there is disruption in these tissues, may be used, as may an ultrasound and a cervical examination, in which the doctor assesses whether the cervix has shortened, softened, thinned or dilated, all of which are signs of preterm labor. 

Locations for Preterm Labor