OBJECTIVE: To assess the association of vaginal commensal and low grade pathogenic bacteria including Ureaplasma parvum, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Group B Streptococcus (GBS), and Gardnerella vaginalis, in women who delivered preterm at less than 37 weeks gestation in the presence or absence of inflammation of the chorioamnionitic membranes.
METHODS: A case control study involving women who delivered before 37 weeks gestation with and without inflammation of chorioamnionitic membranes. A total of 57 placental samples were histologically examined for polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration of placental tissue for evidence of chorioamnionitis, and by type-specific nucleic acid amplification for evidence of infection with one or more of the target bacteria. Demographic data was collected for each mother.
RESULTS: Amongst the 57 placental samples, 42.1% had chorioamnionitis and 24.6% delivered in the second trimester of pregnancy; U. parvum, U. urealyticum, G. vaginalis and GBS were all detected in the study with respective prevalence of 19.3%, 3.5%, 17.5% and 15.8%; M.genitalium and M. hominis were not detected. U. parvum was significantly associated with chorioamnionitis (p value = 0.02; OR 5.0; (95% CI 1.2-21.5) and was more common in women who delivered in the second (35.7%) compared to the third trimester of pregnancy (13.9%). None of the other bacteria were associated with chorioamnionitis or earlier delivery and all G.vaginalis positive women delivered in the third trimester of pregnancy (p value 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: The detection of U. parvum in placental tissue was significantly associated with acute chorioamnionitis in women presenting in extreme preterm labour.