Preterm Birth

About Preterm Birth

The incidence of preterm birth continues to rise worldwide.


In the UK, 7.8% of babies are born prematurely (<37 weeks) which accounts to approximately 60,000 births per year.¹


The causes of preterm births are not fully understood, although there are some related risk factors.²

Traditional risk factors include:²

  • – Previous preterm birth
  • – Multiple pregnancy
  • – Preterm premature rupture of membranes
  • – Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta

If you would like to learn more about how to understand the true risk of patients with traditional risk factors please go to: How fFN testing can help.

In some cases, it is unclear why labour starts early, although there is a greater chance of this happening for women who have had a preterm baby or a late miscarriage before.³ It is important to be aware and educate your patients about the symptoms of preterm labour.


The signs of premature labour can be similar to the signs of labour that starts at full term and this can include;

  • – Either a slow trickle or a gush of clear or pinkish fluid from the vagina or any increase in vaginal discharge
  • – Backache
  • – Cramps like strong period pains
  • – A frequent need to urinate
  • – A feeling of pressure in the pelvis
  • – Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea

When a patient is experiencing symptoms of preterm labour, you need to determine if her risk of preterm birth is real or perhaps quite low. In the UK, 140,000 women exhibit signs and symptoms of preterm labour per year but less than 5% go on to deliver within 14 days.


The Rapid fFN® Test can precisely measure your patient’s true risk of preterm labour and allow you to provide the right care.

Preterm birth can potentially lead to short-term health problems in a newborn baby, with those babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy at risk of lifelong disabilities.²


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015.