The presence of bacteria in a woman vagina and cervix may either increase the risk of premature birth or have a protective effect against it, researchers say.

Mothers Cervical Bacteria May Help Prevent Premature Birth

For the study, the team examined 2,000 pregnant women, taking vaginal swabs at three distinct time points in pregnancy and performed analyses on the specimens to determine the microbial colonies that were present.

The study may help to prevent preterm birth either by eliminating the cervicovaginal bacteria that are associated with an increased risk and/or by enhancing the presence of protective bacteria.