The risk of premature birth can be determined from the changes observed in the microflora of the genital tract of a woman. This was reported by scientists of the Imperial College of London. The results of the research were published on January 23 on the site of the educational institution.
When a child develops in the womb, it is protected by an amniotic sac, or amnion. The normal process of procreation involves the rupture of this bag at a certain stage and the passage of water this signals the imminent initiation of labor. However, if the amnion ruptures to 37 weeks, premature birth is likely: after the damage to the envelope, the child loses this protection and is at risk of infection. In this case, the bacteria from the genital tract of the mother go up to the placenta and uterus. To reduce the risk of infection, in case of premature water diversion, an intravenous antibiotic is administered to a woman. However, this measure can not always be safe: As scientists have established, some expose their health and the health of the child to even greater risks if they are given antibiotic therapy.
Researchers studied smears, taken from women at different stages of pregnancy. They determined which bacteria are present in their genital tract, in what proportions are the strains observed and what changes occur with them. Samples were taken from 250 pregnant women both with risk factors for preterm birth and without them (among such factors – miscarriages and premature births in the past). Of these, 27 have already given birth prematurely. In addition, the researchers also attracted a second group of 87 women who entered the hospital with a premature rupture of the amniotic sac. While in the norm the microflora of the genital tract consists almost exclusively of lactobacilli, in prematurely giving birth, their number has been reduced, and other types of bacteria, on the contrary, have multiplied.
Also, specialists studied samples taken from an additional group of patients before and after antibiotic therapy with erythromycin 4 times a day for 10 days. Smears were taken before the treatment, and then after 48 hours, one week and two weeks. According to the results of the study, it became clear that before antibiotic therapy, lactobacilli remain normal, while after it the ratio changes for the worse. However, it should be noted that some women with a reduced amount of lactobacilli therapy helped to reduce the number of potentially dangerous bacteria.