• BVAB1;
  • Leptotrichia/Sneathia species;
  • Megasphaera phylotype 1;
  • preterm delivery



We evaluated the importance of measuring early vaginal levels of eight bacterial vaginosis (BV)-associated bacteria, at two points in pregnancy, and the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (SPTD) among pregnant women and the subgroup of pregnant women with a history of preterm delivery (PTD).


This prospective cohort study enrolled women at five urban obstetric practices at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia PA. Women with singleton pregnancies less than 16 weeks gestation self-collected vaginal swabs at two points in pregnancy, prior to 16 weeks gestation and between 20–24 weeks gestation, to measure the presence and level of eight BV-associated bacteria. Women were followed-up for gestational age at delivery via medical records.


Among women reporting a prior PTD, women with higher levels of Leptotrichia/Sneathia species, BVAB1 and Mobiluncus spp., prior to 16 weeks gestation, were significantly more likely to experience a SPTD. In addition, pregnant women with a prior PTD and increasing levels of Leptotrichia/Sneathia species (aOR: 9.1, 95% CI 1.9, 42.9), BVAB1 (aOR: 16.4, 95% CI 4.3, 62.7) or Megasphaera phylotype 1 (aOR: 6.2, 95% CI 1.9, 20.6), through 24 weeks gestation, were significantly more likely to experience an SPTD. Among the overall group of pregnant women, the levels of BV-associated bacteria were not related to SPTD.


Among the group of women reporting a prior PTD, increasing levels of BVAB1, Leptotrichia/Sneathia species, and Megasphaera phylotype 1, through mid-pregnancy were related to an increased risk of SPTD.