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Hot Off the Press!  Researchers have made an astounding discovery recently that may shock many OB-GYNs, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners to their cores.  The placenta, which was considered sterile by the aforementioned, is full of about 300 types of bacteria.  Thankfully, most of the bacteria found in the placenta during this study was determined to be harmless.  This new data is important because it has the potential to affect a woman’s pregnancy and the health of her unborn child. 

Past and present preggos:  Remember how you have to give a urine specimen at every prenatal visit to check for urinary tract infections (UTIs), glucose/sugar, and protein spilling into your urine?  Annoying, right?  But, keep in mind that UTIs have been linked to increased risk of premature births.  We need those little angels making their grand entrance any earlier than they’re supposed to arrive.  Scientists are speculating that the wrong mix of bacteria in the placenta is a bad recipe that may result in the baby being born prematurely.  The study also brings to light that we need more research on the true effects of antibiotics taken by expectant mothers during pregnancy. 

Here’s something to keep in mind:  During the study, even when women were diagnosed with a UTI early in the pregnancy and subsequently successfully treated with antibiotics, the placenta still showed traces of the bacteria.  UTIs are a risk factor for premature births.  No bueno. 

So why is so much attention being paid to the placenta?  Well, the answer is simple one.  The placenta is a unique organ that is only present during pregnancy.  The placenta is able to provide oxygen and important nutrients to the developing baby.  It is also responsible for secreting certain hormones and removing harmful wastes from the baby’s temporary oasis. 

Interesting information, right?  During your next prenatal visit, mention this to your healthcare provider so you guys can have a discussion about and come up with a game plan to reduce your chances of infections and having your baby too early.

As always, remember to keep a healthy demeanor , both inside and out!

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