Objective: The importance of Chlamydia trachomatis (C. tr.) infection in the etiology of premature labor was examined in a prospective, representative, multicenter study.
Method: Specimens were collected from 6161 subjects in seven centers and examined by the Gen-Probe method.
Results: The infection rate was 5.74%. There were no significant correlations between low birth weight, premature rupture of the membranes, dysmaturity and C. tr. infection. In cases of threatening premature labor, the infection rate was significantly higher in C. tr.-positive patients. In the event of combined low birth weight and perinatal death, the maternal C. tr. infection rate was significantly higher than in normal pregnancies. C. tr.-positive patients treated with roxithromycin had term deliveries. A correlation between poor social circumstances and a high C. tr. infection rate could be proved.
Conclusion: Cases with a poor obstetric history and/or socially high-risk patients should be screened for C. tr. infection, and in positive cases treatment is recommended.