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ABSTRACT

Preterm delivery continues to occur in 5% to 10% of all births, with a perinatal mortality rate between 50% and 80%. In recent years, the role of infection with lower genital tract organisms in precipitating preterm labor/delivery and premature rupture of membranes has come under considerable study. This article reviews the mechanisms by which infection may play a role in these problems, with a specific focus on bacterial vaginosis. Clinical management issues are addressed, including screening of prenatal patients, diagnostic criteria, and treatment possibilities.