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Keywords:

  • Bacteria;
  • Delivery;
  • Mother;
  • Newborn;
  • Oral

Abstract

Aim

To estimate the transmission of maternal vaginal microbiota to neonates during term delivery, focusing on Lactobacillus flora in relation to various obstetric clinical factors.

Methods

Fifty consecutive pregnant healthy women with singleton term pregnancies and their newborn infants. Vertical transmission of Lactobacillus flora to the newborn during delivery was evaluated in 45 mother–newborn pairs.

Results

Lactobacillus-dominant mixed flora was detected in 90% (N = 45) of vaginal samples, but only in 28% (N = 14) of neonatal cultures (transmission rate 31%). All neonates with Lactobacillus-dominant mixed flora had findings similar to those in maternal cultures. Cocci-dominant flora was the most common finding in neonates. Administration of antibiotics to the mother during the intrapartum period before birth and duration of rupture of membranes (ROM), regardless of maternal antibiotic treatment, were associated significantly with a decreased transmission rate of Lactobacillus-dominant mixed flora to neonates.

Conclusion

Maternal intrapartum antibiotics and prolonged expectant management after ROM were associated with decreased transmission rate of vaginal Lactobacillus flora to the neonate during birth. As early colonization of Lactobacillus flora may have a preventive role in the development of allergic diseases later, the significance of intrapartum prophylactic antibiotics needs to be highlighted in forthcoming studies, especially as regards immunological development of the offspring.