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Miscarriage linked to changes in vaginal bacteria?


One in ten women has had a miscarriage. A reality too often hidden. According to a new study (source 1) published in BMC Medicine, changes in the vaginal microbiome of the mother may be associated with the termination of a pregnancy.

Indeed, the researchers found that the inflammation caused by these changes in the bacteria could be responsible for this end of pregnancy. These “findings could present a new perspective on the causes of miscarriages. There are several ideas about how this inflammation could lead to pregnancy loss such as certain vaginal bacterial organisms triggering upstream inflammation which causes the lining of the uterus to break down,” said study author Dr Karen Grewal, from Imperial’s Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction.

Proliferation of bacteria

As this study explains, a healthy vaginal microbiota is rich in acid-producing lactobacilli. These help prevent the growth of other potentially harmful bacteria. An imbalance in the microbiome can then favor the proliferation of certain bacteria. “Our early findings don’t give us enough information to say there’s a link between these types of products and miscarriages, but they do suggest that we need to look further into the role of the vaginal microbiome,” says Prof. Phillip Bennett, lead author. Further research is needed to confirm this association and attempt to prevent the onset of miscarriages.

In video: Miscarriage: a new cause discovered?

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