• Labour;
  • oestriol;
  • preterm;
  • progesterone;
  • saliva

Saliva progesterone and oestriol concentrations were determined weekly from 24 weeks of gestation in women at increased risk of preterm delivery. Samples were analysed from 28 women with spontaneous onset of labour and delivery before 37 weeks of gestation, and 64 who delivered at term. Saliva progesterone was lower in the 12 women delivering before 34 weeks than in those delivering later, between 34 and 37 weeks (P = 0.007) or at term (P = 0.009). Measurement of saliva progesterone may be of value in the prediction of early preterm labour and in determining which women might benefit from progesterone supplementation.