Newly discovered bacteria found in the mouth could be responsible for up to 80 percent of preterm labors, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
The findings could assist health care professionals in preventing preterm births by encouraging oral hygiene or even stop early labor using targeted antibiotics.
"The earlier the woman goes into preterm labor, the higher the chance that she will be infected," said Yiping Han, a doctor at Case Western University.
In this study, doctors removed amniotic fluid from 46 women with high risk pregnancies. Of the group sampled, 21 delivered preterm babies. About 85 percent of those woman tested positive for the previously undetected bacteria.
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