-- Randy Dotinga
MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Bacteria in the female
reproductive tract during the late second and early third trimester
of pregnancy are different in women who will ultimately give birth
prematurely than in women with full-term deliveries, new research
The study is scheduled for presentation Thursday at the Society
for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting in New Orleans.
Researchers reached their conclusions after testing the
so-called "cervicovaginal microbiota" in vaginal swabs taken from
pregnant women in the second trimester (20 to 24 weeks) and early
third trimester (24 to 28) of pregnancy. They compared the bacteria
from women who would go on to give birth prematurely to those who
gave birth at full term.
At issue: The kinds of bacteria that were present based on their
"community state type," or CST.
"We compared the proportion of CSTs in the women who ultimately had a preterm birth to those who had a term birth," Dr. Michal Elovitz, director of the maternal and child health research program at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said in a meeting news release.
The percentage with certain kinds of CST "was significantly
lower in samples from women delivering preterm than term," Elovitz
said. "Notably, the differences in these microbial communities were
evident in the late second trimester of pregnancy, weeks, if not
months, prior to the preterm birth."
It's not yet clear how these differences might be related to
whether a woman has a full-term birth, Elovitz said.
"This study is the first to report such key differences in the [cervicovaginal] microbial communities weeks prior to preterm birth," she said. "If differences are confirmed, then new and exciting therapeutic strategies will emerge to prevent preterm birth."
The researchers are launching another study to better understand
how the bacteria are connected to preterm birth.
Data and conclusions of studies presented at medical meetings
should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
For more about
childbirth, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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