Antenatal microbiologic and maternal risk factors associated with prematurity

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Nov;163(5 Pt 1):1465-73. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(90)90607-9.


In a prospective study of 202 women (gestational age 24 +/- 4 weeks), we evaluated possible influences of lower genital tract infection or bacterial conditions on obstetric outcomes, including preterm labor, preterm premature rupture of membranes, and preterm birth. The presence of bacterial vaginosis (18.7%) was associated with an increased risk of preterm labor (relative risk, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.08 to 6.46). For women with bacterial vaginosis who also had Mobiluncus species morphotypes identified on Gram stain, the relative risk of preterm labor was 3.8 (95% confidence interval, 1.32 to 11.5). Presence of vaginal Mycoplasma hominis (10.8% of patients) was associated with both preterm labor (relative risk, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 4.4) and preterm birth (relative risk, 5.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.45 to 17.9). Recovery of Staphylococcus aureus (3.0%) was associated with preterm labor (relative risk, 3.1; 95% confidence interval 1.12 to 8.7). Identification of two or more bacterial-linked abnormalities was also associated with preterm labor (relative risk, 3.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.44 to 7.58). An increased level of vaginal wash protease (greater than or equal to 10 trypsin units) (16%) was associated with preterm labor and was noted in 50% of women with preterm premature rupture of membranes. A history of prior preterm birth was the single best historical predictor of both preterm labor (relative risk, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.92 to 6.83) and preterm birth (relative risk, 6.7; 95% confidence interval, 2.2 to 20.4). History of three or more abortions, antenatal urinary tract infection, and occurrence of medical complications during pregnancy also correlated with increased risk of preterm labor. These findings affirm and refine associations of various maternal reproductive tract infections with preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, and birth, allowing for controlled treatment trials aimed at prevention of preterm birth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacterial Infections / enzymology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / enzymology
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / enzymology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / enzymology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vagina / enzymology
  • Vagina / microbiology*


  • Endopeptidases