With a raising incidental rate of preterm births, researchers all over the world are trying to find a method to prevent these births and help the mothers deliver full term babies. This will decrease the number of children who suffer from chronic conditions due to premature birth, like asthma.

Cervicovaginal Microbiota Levels Can Indicate the Chance of Preterm Birth

A study which was presented on 6th February at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual convention showed that cervicovaginal (CV) microbiota levels in late second term and early third term of pregnancy, differ for women prone to give birth prematurely, compared to the samples from women who delivered their child after a full term gestation period.

The study tested vaginal samples from women on late second term of pregnancy and early third term of pregnancy and compared the samples from women who gave birth after a full gestation period and samples from women who experienced preterm birth.

Types of CST

Bases on the DNA collected from these samples, the microbial communities were characterized by community state types or CST. CST I was dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus, known as “good” bacteria, CST III was characterized by Lactobacillus iners and CST IV was characterized by anaerobic bacteria, which is usually involved in the development of bacterial vaginosis.

Differences in samples

Further analyze of the samples revealed  notable differences in the proportions of CSTs. The amount of non-CST III was lower in women who suffered a premature birth than the levels found in women with full term birth. The difference occurs months prior the actual date of birth, so the conclusion is that it is possible to determine if a woman will have a full term birth or a preterm one based on this type of analysis. If doctors can discover that a preterm is about to happen, they can try to prevent it.

Further studies

This first study is only the beginning of a wider research which will determine what is the connection between the differences found in the vaginal swabs and the preterm birth. Further studies may also give researchers some clues on how to find treatment for preterm birth and help expecting mothers prevent this from happening.

The National Institute of Nursing Research will assign the necessary funds to the team of researchers who conducted this primary study to continue their work and understand the link between cervicovaginal microbiota and preterm birth.