Fetal Fibronectin Testing

Research Team

  • Principle Investigators: Gwen Healey, Alexander MacDonald, Jude Kornelsen, Stefan Grzybowski, William Hogg
  • Research Team: Annie Aningmiuq, Natasha Stephen, Mandie Bzdell, Rob Nevin, Melanie McDonald, Dr. Elizabeth Muggah, Daniel Hawkins

Funding Agencies

  • Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa
  • Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut

Project Summary

The partnership consists of researchers and clinicians from the Department of Health & Social Services in Nunavut, Qaujigiartiit Artic Health Research Network Nunavut, the Centre for Rural Health Research at the University of British Columbia, the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and Qullit Nunavut Status of Women’s Council.  The goals of the project were to examine the use of the Fetal Fibronectin test for rural pregnant women at term. We wanted to answer the following questions:

  1. Can a negative fFN test accurately predict the absence of labour for an adequate amount of time to allow pregnant women to stay in their home communities longer? and,
  2. Will women be interested in participating in this study?

Project Updates

The fetal fibronectin pilot study established that women are willing to participate in a project looking at the use of fFN to predict the delay in labour ‘at term.’ Out of the 30 women who participated, only 2 women stopped participating. In total 135 tests were collected.  Based on the pilot test results, it appears that, as the fFN test is currently used with a 50 ng cut-off, the level of fFN in a woman ‘at term’ is not predictive of the number of days a woman can stay in the community before giving birth. In order for the test to be useful for rural women, the test needs to be accurate in showing that a negative test result means that women will not go into labour for a minimum of 7 days, which according to our pilot project, is not the case.