So when Beth gave birth to baby Logan on October 1, 2008 he really was a miracle baby.
Born by C-section at 39 weeks and 3 days, Logan weighed in at a very healthy 6lb 15oz (3.14kg).
Beth had previously undergone several surgical procedures for abnormal cervical cells, including a cone biopsy. This meant that her cervix had been shortened and she had developed cervical stenosis, and would therefore have difficulty getting pregnant.
She had already experienced a miscarriage at just 6.5 weeks into her first pregnancy the previous year.
Because of her history, Beth was referred to Professor Andrew Shennan, Consultant Obstetrician at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in London early on in her pregnancy, so she could be carefully monitored.
Prof Shennan established that Beth’s cervix was shortening only 14.5 weeks into her pregnancy, so at 23.5 weeks gestation Beth had a FullTerm™ Fetal Fibronectin Test (sometimes referred to as the fFN Test), which proved to be negative (normal).
This non-invasive test measures the amount of fetal fibronectin in a woman’s vagina. Fetal fibronectin is like a “glue” that a woman’s body produces during pregnancy to help secure the membranes around the fetus to the uterus.
Normally, from 22 to 35 weeks gestation only a very tiny amount of this “glue” is found in the vagina.
Around 35 weeks the amount starts to increase as the body is preparing to give birth. If fetal fibronectin is detected, this indicates a higher risk of imminent birth.
This information helped Prof Shennan manage Beth’s pregnancy effectively. Because the baby was in the breech position and it was unsure how Beth’s cervix would react during labour, Beth had a caesarean section.
Beth and her husband Iain’s ‘miracle’ baby was born a healthy weight at full term with no other undue complications.
She says, ‘Iain and I were absolutely elated when I fell pregnant, but understandably anxious at the possibility of enduring a late miscarriage or early labour because of my past medical history.
‘It was reassuring not just for us, but our families too, having the FullTerm fFN test, which helped us worry less and enjoy the pregnancy more.
‘I would not hesitate to recommend this test to other pregnant women and will definitely ask for it if I fall pregnant again!’
Prof Shennan says, ‘We see many women like Beth, on a weekly basis. Having a test like fetal fibronectin has proved invaluable in being able to give accurate information to women as to their risk of early delivery.
The FullTerm test helps us manage these women, often allowing us to discharge home, when otherwise they would spend weeks in hospital. It also allows us to give treatments to help the baby mature, or to prevent delivery in those who are likely to benefit.’