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Summary

The lecithin/sphingomyelin (L/S) ratios and optical densities at 650 nm were determined for 158 samples of amniotic fluid obtained by amniocentesis. A further 24 samples collected by vaginal aspiration from patients with spontaneous rupture of the membranes were also analysed. The relation between the L/S ratio and the optical density suggests that the more rapidly obtainable optical density measurement could be used as a screening procedure for fetal pulmonary maturity. A valid estimate of maturity by optical density is not possible in amniotic fluid aspirated from the vagina.