Vaginal microbiome in pregnant women could be used as an indicator to predict premature birth, a Korean research team said in a study.
|Professor Kim Young-ju of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Ewha Womans University Medical Center,|
The team, led by Kim Young-ju, a professor at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Ewha Womans University Medical Center, released the results of the study on Tuesday, concluding that microorganisms like Weissella and Bacteroides may play a significant role in deciding delivery at term or preterm.
The researchers collected vaginal fluid from 58 pregnant women at risk of premature birth in five university hospitals in Korea, extracted their DNAs and performed “16S rRNA gene Amplicon Sequencing.”
The results showed that nine women who were dominated by both L. Crispatus and Bacteroides delivered prematurely. In contrast, five who had an abundance of Weissella delivered at term, after the 37th week of pregnancy.
“During pregnancy, microbiome tends to change, affected by immunity or hormones. Stability and dominance of Lactobacillus in the vagina appear to be significant factors for the maintenance of pregnancy and delivery,” Kim said. “This study looked into the predictability for premature labor through Weissella and Bacteroides.”
Investigating the characteristics of microorganisms in the vagina of pregnant women and finding the microbiome related to premature birth greatly helps to predict preterm birth, Kim said.
She added that further studies were needed to investigate the mechanism underlying the link between the microbiome and preterm birth.
The research team’s paper, “Vaginal microbiome profiles of pregnant women in Korea using a 16S metagenomics approach,” was published in the online May edition of American Journal of Reproductive Immunology.