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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jun;194(6):1717-26; discussion 1726-7.

Readily treatable reproductive tract infections and preterm birth among black women.

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  • 1The Los Angeles Best Babies Collaborative, Center for Healthy Births, California Hospital Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



This study sought to quantify the risks of preterm birth that are ascribable to potentially treatable reproductive tract infections among black women in Denver, Colorado.


A secondary analysis was conducted of 4 prospective studies in Denver, Colorado, that included 1038 women who were enrolled at < 29 weeks of gestation and whose cases were followed through delivery. Rates of preterm birth, preterm labor, and preterm premature rupture of membranes were the primary outcomes that were examined.


Bacterial vaginosis, infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and group B streptococcal colonization were more common among black women (P < .01) than among comparators. Preterm birth occurred more often among black women with infections that were being studied (20.4%), compared with uninfected black women (9.5%; relative risk, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.1). Up to 42% of preterm births among black women were attributable to the presence of bacterial vaginosis, T vaginalis, or C trachomatis alone or in combinations. The risk for preterm birth among infected black women who received Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended treatment was reduced significantly (relative risk, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.04-0.66).


Black women have increased risks of prematurity that are associated with prevalent reproductive tract infections during pregnancy. Preterm birth among similar urban black women could be reduced by > 40% by the screening and treatment of common genitourinary tract infections in pregnancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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