Premature birth linked to the mother's vaginal microbiome
Pregnant women who deliver early are more likely to have a diverse community of vaginal bacteria, finds a new study published in Frontiers in Microbiology. These findings also highlight specific bacteria associated with premature birth and could help identify the women most at risk of giving birth prematurely. Babies born early, before 37 weeks of gestation, often suffer complicated medical problems - preterm birth is the leading cause of death in newborns. While there are many risk factors, such as maternal stress, maternal age and low maternal body-mass index, exactly how and why it happens is less understood. The role of the vaginal microbiome in relation to premature birth has been investigated before, but these studies have had their limitations. By merging five different sets of data, equating to more than three thousand samples from over four hundred women, the scientists were able to identify new associations between the vaginal microbiome, specific bacteria and premature birth.
The researchers also identified specific microbes associated with premature birth. Some have been highlighted by previous studies, such as Lactobacillus, which is more prevalent in women who have a full-term birth, whereas others like Olsenella and Clostridium sensu scricto were newly linked to an early delivery. The researchers hope the findings from their research can be used to discover new ways of detecting mothers who are at risk.
Link to the original research article: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00476/full
(Content Courtesy: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/f-pbl040120.php)