Bacterial or fungal infections in a mother's amniotic fluid may play a larger role in premature birth than previously believed, according to the August 26 PLoS One.
Researchers examined the amniotic fluid of 166 women who went into preterm labor, 113 of whom had preterm babies. They found that 15% of the fluid samples contained bacteria or fungi, higher than previous estimates. Of the samples with microbes, all were from mothers who had their babies prematurely.
Researchers speculated that amniotic fluid infected with bacteria or fungi may trigger an inflammatory response in the pregnant mother, thus contributing to preterm birth.