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:
Reference 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.
- Reference Amniotic fluid Opens New Window. Finding this fluid in the vagina means that your water has broken.
- Reference 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.
- Reference Vaginal exam. You'll be checked to see if the contractions have begun to open (dilate) or thin (efface) your Reference cervix Opens New Window.
- Other tests for infection, such as a Reference blood test, Reference urine test, and Reference urine culture.
For the baby
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 10, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine