Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pregnant Women, brush your teeth!


Previously undiscovered bacteria usually found in the mouth could be responsible for up to 80 percent of early preterm labors, estimate doctors from Case Western Reserve and Yale Universities in a new study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

The research could help doctors prevent preterm births by encouraging oral hygiene or stop early labor from developing by prescribing 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 and the first author on the study.

Most human pregnancies last about 40 weeks. A birth prior to 37 weeks is classified as preterm. About 12 percent of all births in the United States are preterm, a number that has grown by more than 30 percent since 1981 for reasons unknown. Babies born preterm can face many hurdles: vision and hearing loss, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, even death.

Labor itself is still somewhat of a mystery to science, which makes puzzling out preterm labor even more difficult. Anything from socioeconomic status and race to bacterial infection and genetics have been linked to preterm births, but a definitive cause is still elusive...

I had early labor(not delivery) and I brushed my teeth four times a day. I wish this was an indication of "why" it happened to me, but I don't really think so.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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