Mechanisms, organisms and markers of infection in pregnancy

J Reprod Immunol. Oct-Nov 2002;57(1-2):169-83. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0378(02)00018-9.


Premature delivery is still a significant problem in Obstetrics. It has multiple causes, with around 50% thought due to infection. Of note infection as a pathogenesis is more likely in those pre-term births occurring <30 weeks gestation and is largely sub-clinical. Potential pathogens largely arise from the ascending route and from the endogenous vaginal flora, causing chorioamnionitis. Resultant morbidity from the release of endo+/exotoxins from such pathogens, the stimulation and production of inflammatory cytokine pathways, prostaglandins, metalloproteinases includes maternal sepsis (chorioamnionitis, septicaemia, post-partum endometritis), pre-term delivery (infant pre-maturity and its consequences, increased susceptibility to cerebral palsy and neonatal sepsis). As well, infection increases mortality due to fetal loss (extreme pre-maturity) as well as severe neonatal sepsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / immunology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / microbiology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Streptococcal Infections / immunology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / pathogenicity
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / complications
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / immunology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / complications
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / immunology


  • Biomarkers