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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2011 February;63(1):25-9

language: Italian

Role of vaginal infection in fetal and neonatal mortality

Di Vico A., Donati L., Labianca A., Quagliozzi L., Spagnuolo T., Bracaglia M., Nucci M., Caruso A., Paradisi G.

Istituto di Ginecologia ed Ostetricia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia


Preterm delivery is the chief problem in obstetrics today and the main determinant of infant mortality and morbidity. Despite the dramatic decrease in infant mortality rate during the past several years, the percentage of preterm (<37 weeks gestation) and low birth weight (LBW) (<2500) rates remain elevated. Approximately 10% of all births are preterm, with a rate of 1-2% of infant born before the end of the 32 weeks of gestation and with a weight <1500 g. Despite the importance of the problem, the majority of preterm live births remain unexplained, and programmatic attempts at reversing the high level of preterm births have not been successful. Numerous studies have linked bacterial vaginosis, chorioamniotitis and endometritis with preterm birth and LBW, especially among African women. The number of preterm live births among African women is twice the one among Caucasians. Bacterial vaginosis is an independent risk factor for preterm and LBW births and the mechanism by which bacterial vaginosis causes the preterm birth of an infant with LBW is unknown. The aim of this article was to underline the importance of the treatment and early identification of vaginal infection, in particular if due to bacterial vaginosis, as it can have a substantial affect on the incidence of preterm delivery with LBW.

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