The infection connection  pg. 4

Romero and colleagues have found increased levels of several cytokines in the amniotic fluid of women with infection. These cytokines stimulate the synthesis of prostaglandins, which can induce contractions, cervical dilation and rupture of membranes.

“A unique circumstance of the fetus is that it must live in an infected environment. That problem is often solved by initiating labor,” he says. Premature delivery has its own attendant risks, however, including respiratory distress syndrome, heart problems and blindness.

Antibiotic therapy has not been effective in preventing preterm labor, possibly because the infection is not typically found until preterm labor has already begun. Instead, studies in animals suggest that anti-inflammatory therapies—including the use of anti-oxidants and COX-2 inhibitors—may be the best bet for stopping premature labor and improving neonatal outcome.

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