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A longitudinal study of the cervical and vaginal microflora of 131 pregnant women showed a similar range of organisms at first visit (up to 16 weeks), at 28 weeks and at 36 weeks of pregnancy. Twenty different groups or genera of microorganisms were recovered, predominantly lactobacilli. There was a fall in the isolation rate of organisms in the mothers 6 to 8 weeks after delivery. Lactobacilli and yeasts including Candida albicans were recovered less frequently whereas the incidence of Escherichia coli and group B streptococci increased.
Infants born to these mothers were swabbed within 24 hours of delivery and yielded organisms from the umbilicus, ear and mouth in 24%, 33% and 38% of cases respectively. Alpha haemolytic streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus were the predominant organisms. Sixteen different groups or genera were isolated.
The isolation rates in non-pregnant women attending a `well-women' clinic were similar to those in the postnatal mothers; few women of 60 years or more were colonized.