Exams and Tests
If you have symptoms of
preterm labor, both you and your baby will be
examined and monitored.
Information from these exams and tests can help you and your doctor
or nurse-midwife decide whether to treat early labor and delay the birth or
let it continue.
For the mother
You will be examined for tenderness
in your uterus. Your temperature, pulse, and rate of breathing will be checked.
Depending on your symptoms, you may have one or more exams or tests, including:
- Vaginal smear. This test looks for:
- Infection. Having an infection in the
vagina can cause infection in your uterus. And that can trigger preterm labor as well as serious
infection in the newborn.
- Amniotic fluid. Finding this fluid in the vagina means that your water has broken.
- Fetal fibronectin. When the test is negative, it is unlikely that you
are having preterm labor. This test
isn't used in all
labor and delivery units.
- Vaginal exam. You'll be checked to see if the contractions
have begun to open (dilate) or thin (efface) your
- Ultrasound to check the length of your cervix.
- Other tests for infection, such as a blood test, urine test, and urine culture.
For the baby
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
January 8, 2013
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