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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 106-114

Pathogenesis to Treatment: Preventing Preterm Birth Mediated by Infection

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Campus Box B198, Denver, CO 80262, USA

Received 1 October 1997; Accepted 21 October 1997

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Prevention of preterm birth and subsequent newborn immaturity is a primary goal of obstetrical care worldwide. Accumulated evidence shows that 1) as many as 25–50% of preterm births are caused by common genital tract infections and subsequent maternal/fetal inflammatory responses; 2) microbial and maternal host factors (phospholipases, proteases, etc.) play roles in preterm labor and preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM); 3) integrated aspects of maternal and fetal host responses (inflammation, altered immune adaptations, endocrine and paracrine mechanisms) play increasingly understood roles in premature activation of parturition; and 4) identification and systemic treatment of common genitourinary infections, most importantly bacterial vaginosis (BV), reduce the risks of preterm delivery and PROM.