UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Increased richness and diversity of the vaginal microbiota and spontaneous preterm birth Freitas, Aline C; Bocking, Alan; Hill, Janet E; Money, Deborah M


Background: The bacterial community present in the female lower genital tract plays an important role in maternal and neonatal health. Imbalances in this microbiota have been associated with negative reproductive outcomes, such as spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB), but the mechanisms underlying the association between a disturbed microbiota and sPTB remain poorly understood. An intrauterine infection ascending from the vagina is thought to be an important contributor to the onset of preterm labour. Our objective was to characterize the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women who had sPTB (n = 46) and compare to those of pregnant women who delivered at term (n = 170). Vaginal swabs were collected from women at 11–16 weeks of gestational age. Microbiota profiles were created by PCR amplification and pyrosequencing of the cpn60 universal target region. Results: Profiles clustered into seven community state types: I (Lactobacillus crispatus dominated), II (Lactobacillus gasseri dominated), III (Lactobacillus iners dominated), IVA (Gardnerella vaginalis subgroup B or mix of species), IVC (G. vaginalis subgroup A dominated), IVD (G. vaginalis subgroup C dominated) and V (Lactobacillus jensenii dominated). The microbiota of women who experienced preterm birth (

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