Objective: The relationship between stillbirths and infections during pregnancy.
Methods: Antibodies to 13 different viruses and to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Treponema pallidum, Toxoplasma gondii, and Chlamydia trachomatis, psittaci, and pneumoniae were studied from sera of 42 mothers with stillbirth and of matched case-control pregnancies.
Results: Elevated antibody levels to Chlamydia trachomatis and human parvovirus B19 were observed in seven mothers with stillbirth as compared with one in matched case controls (p-0.03 and p < 0.06, Fisher's exact one- and two-tailed p values). By a novel EIA test for C. trachomatis, based on synthetic polypeptide, 15 positive cases were detected in patients compared to seven in controls. Placental calcifications and fetal growth retardation appeared more often (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively) in the C. trachomatis- associated cases than in the others. There was no significant relation between stillbirth and the other antibodies.
Conclusions: We suggest C. trachomatis as a hitherto unrecognized possible cause of still-births besides human parvovirus B19. A new EIA test for C. trachomatis, one covering all strains, is promising and makes the future assays more convenient, and may thus make it possible to reduce the rate of stillbirths.