n South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - The association between genital infection and spontaneous preterm labour : research article

Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0038-2329
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



&lt;I&gt;Objective.&lt;/I&gt; To determine the association between <I>Chlamydia trachomatis&lt;/I&gt; genital infection, as found at the first antenatal visit, and spontaneous preterm labour. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Methods.&lt;/I&gt; Low-risk obstetric patients, attending the Bishop Lavis Midwife Obstetric Unit, were screened for <I>C. trachomatis&lt;/I&gt; infection at the first antenatal visit between 16 and 23 weeks' gestation. Using a bivalve speculum, a swab was taken directly from the endocervix and examined by the polymerase chain reaction technique. At the same time a lateral vaginal smear was taken to examine for bacterial vaginosis. Analyses were done in batches after delivery. Clinicians responsible for the management of the pregnant women were therefore unaware of these test results. Patients were followed up during pregnancy and labour for complications such as delivery before 37 weeks. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Results.&lt;/I&gt; A total of 343 pregnant women were recruited, of whom 36 (10.5%) delivered before 37 weeks' gestation. <I>C. trachomatis&lt;/I&gt; was found in 8 (22.2%) of women who had preterm deliveries in contrast to 32 (10.4%) women who had term deliveries (p = 0.037). The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis did not differ significantly between these two groups. There was 1 neonatal death in the preterm delivery group but no neonatal deaths among women who delivered at term. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Conclusion.&lt;/I&gt; An association was found between preterm delivery and <I>C. trachomatis&lt;/I&gt; infection. An intervention study is indicated to determine whether specific treatment of this infection reduces the frequency of preterm labour.

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