© 2015 Informa UK Ltd. The integrity of the fetal amnion-chorion is an imperative for the preservation of a normal pregnancy in the human. The diagnosis of the status of the fetal membranes has traditionally been reduced to either intact or ruptured. In the last decades, evidence has accumulated demonstrating that this clinical approach may well be an over simplification. Practically, all maternal organs experienced physiologic or eventually pathologic changes during the length of the gestational period. We propose that the fetal membranes are also significantly impacted by those changes. The accurate, specific, simplified and low-cost diagnosis of the status of the fetal membranes is of critical importance for the assessment of risk to the pregnancy followed by efficient and prompt treatment. The presence of placental alpha macroglobulin-1 in the vagina specifically indicates a disruption in the integrity of the fetal membranes and may indirectly mean increased risk for preterm birth. Further research to properly characterize this marker and its importance in the care of pregnant woman at risk for preterm birth is strongly recommended.
- Chemical markers
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Preterm birth
- Risk assessment