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J R Soc Med. 1980 February; 73(2): 105–110.
PMCID: PMC1437336

Genital flora during pregnancy and colonization of the newborn1


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.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Baker CJ, Barrett FF. Transmission of group B streptococci among parturient women and their neonates. J Pediatr. 1973 Dec;83(6):919–925. [PubMed]
  • Bolognese RJ, Corson SL, Fuccillo DA, Traub R, Moder F, Sever JL. Herpesvirus hominis type II infections in asymptomatic pregnant women. Obstet Gynecol. 1976 Nov;48(5):507–510. [PubMed]
  • Cassie R, Stevenson A. Screening for gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, moniliasis and syphilis in pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. 1973 Jan;80(1):48–51. [PubMed]
  • de Louvois J, Hurley R, Stanley VC. Microbial flora of the lower genital tract during pregnancy: relationship to morbidity. J Clin Pathol. 1975 Sep;28(9):731–735. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dudgeon JA. Intrauterine infection. Proc R Soc Med. 1975 Jun;68(6):365–367. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ferrieri P, Cleary PP, Seeds AE. Epidemiology of group-B streptococcal carriage in pregnant women and newborn infants. J Med Microbiol. 1977 Feb;10(1):103–114. [PubMed]
  • Galask RP, Larsen B, Ohm MJ. Vaginal flora and its role in disease entities. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 1976 Mar;19(1):61–81. [PubMed]
  • Galask RP, Snyder IS. Bacterial inhibition by amniotic fluid. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1968 Dec 1;102(7):949–955. [PubMed]
  • Naderi S, Gettner S, Zeighami E, Khairandish MH. Microbiology of the female genital tract during pregnancy and parturition. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1976;14(1):81–85. [PubMed]
  • Slack MP, Mayon-White RT. Group B streptococci in pharyngeal aspirates at birth and the early detection of neonatal sepsis. Arch Dis Child. 1978 Jul;53(7):540–544. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • SLOTNICK IJ, HILDEBRANDT RJ, PRYSTOWSKY H. Microbiology of the femal genital tract. IV. Cervical and vaginal flora during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 1963 Mar;21:312–317. [PubMed]
  • White CA, Koontz FP. Bacterial flora of the cervix during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 1968 Sep;32(3):402–407. [PubMed]

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