The relationship of cervical microbiota diversity with race and disparities in preterm birth

Sarahn Wheeler*, Katherine Pryor, Brian Antczak, Tracy Truong, Amy Murtha, Patrick Seed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Pregnant non-Hispanic blacks (NHB) have increased vaginal microbiome diversity compared to non-Hispanic whites (NHW) which may contribute to increased preterm birth. Cervical microbiome diversity is poorly characterized in pregnancy, therefore our objective was to correlate cervical microbiota diversity with cervico-vaginal inflammation by race and delivery timing. STUDY DESIGN: Pregnant women were recruited in the first and second trimesters. A sterile cervical swab and saline lavage were collected at a single time point. Using 16S rRNA sequencing, Chao1 and Shannon Diversity (SDI) indicies were measured and compared by race and delivery timing (preterm vs.Term delivery). Cervico-vaginal inflammatory markers were also compared by race and delivery timing. Spearman correlation coefficients between cervical microbiome diversity and cervico-vaginal inflammatory markers were calculated. RESULTS: Of the 51 subjects, 39 (76%) were NHB and 12 (24%) were NHW. Cervical microbiota SDI was significantly higher in NHB compared to NHW (0.5 vs. 0.1; p = 0.03). However, there were no difference in Chao1 diversity or cervico-vaginal inflammatory markers by race or delivery timing. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest the cervical microbiota diversity during pregnancy differs by race. Larger cohort studies will further determine if altered cervical diversity is part of the pathogenesis of PTB and explains race disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Microbiome
  • disparities
  • preterm birth
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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