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Infections May Lead To Premature Births

Armen Hareyan's picture

Infections can cause premature births, this is why it is very important to detect them as early as possible to prevent premature birth.

Premature birth causes major problems to a child's later development. Early born babies are having breathing difficulties, underdeveloped organs, and are at very high risk for infections and cerebral palsy. Nowadays, about 12% of US children are born earlier than 37th week of gestation, which is very worrying. Scientists are now looking at possible factors leading to early labor and are looking for ways to improve pregnancy health.

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A team of researchers from Stanford University in California examined 166 women giving birth during the period between October 1998 and December 2002. 133 women gave premature births and 15% of them were infected. They checked the DNA of amniotic fluid samples of all women and found that 25 women were carrying a bacteria or a fungi. One woman was found to be infected with an unknown organism.

The infected women were properly checked during pregnancy and were not found to have any suspicious infection, but when they were checked for amniotic fluid, they were found to be infected. Now researchers are looking closely at these infection cases to be able to identify them early.

Researchers found that PCR test in addition to other performed tests is able to find 56% more infections. The studied women who gave premature births (earlier than 25th week of gestation) were found to have 17 bacterial species, which is not acceptable.

"If we could prevent these infections in the first place, or detect them sooner, we might one day be able to prevent some of these premature births," said Dr. Dan DiGiulio from the study.