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Journal: Journal of perinatal medicine


Abstract Objective: To assess perinatal outcome in type II monochorionic (MC) diamniotic twin pregnancies (DA) affected by selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) and abnormal cord insertion managed expectantly. Methods: A prospective longitudinal study from June 2008 and July 2011 on 24 MCDA sIUGR twins. sIUGR was defined as estimated fetal weight below the 10th percentile in one twin and was classified into three groups based on umbilical artery (UA) Doppler diastolic flow (I: presence; II: constantly absent/reverse (AEDF/ARED); III: intermittently absent or reverse). Marginal cord insertion was defined as insertion within 2 cm of the placental disc edge, and velamentous insertion as a cord insertion into the fetal membranes. Expectant management was chosen in these twins, and absent or reverse A wave in the ductus venosus (DV) was a criterion for delivery. Neonatal outcome was available for all twins delivered. Pathological examination and vascular cast of placentas were performed in all cases. Results: Fourteen twin pregnancies were type II sIUGR, and ten presented an abnormal umbilical cord insertion. Median gestational age (GA) at diagnosis of sIUGR was 18 weeks' gestation (range 16-20 weeks), and all sIUGR co-twins showed AEDF of UA at a median gestational age of 20 weeks (range 18-22 weeks). Median gestational age at delivery was 30 weeks (range 28-34 weeks) with a median birth weight of 1285 g (range 307-1725 g). pH at birth and base excess (BE) were normal in all IUGR co-twin (pH>7.10, median BE 5.5); Apgar score at 5 min was >7. Perinatal outcome was favorable in all cases. Placental pathological examination confirmed the marginal insertion of the umbilical cord and the absence of anastomosis between the two portions of umbilical insertion. Conclusions: This study highlights that expectant management for sIUGR type II twins with or without an abnormal cord insertion should be a valid option to time delivery for these fetuses as shown by the favorable neonatal outcome.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Embryo, Fetus, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Twin, Velamentous cord insertion


Due to the extremely low incidence of TORCH (toxoplasmosis, rubella, CMV, herpes simplex virus) infections, diagnostic testing of all small for gestational age (SGA) infants aimed at TORCH etiologies may incur unnecessary tests and cost.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Fetus, Virus, Obstetrics, Herpes simplex virus, Herpesviridae, Herpes simplex, Encephalitis



Background The association between bacteriuria and adverse pregnancy outcomes has been extensively described. The current practice of screening all pregnant women for bacteriuria is challenged by recent studies. We aimed to evaluate pregnancy outcomes among women with a positive urine culture, to assess the significance of positive urinary nitrites in this setting. Methods This was a retrospective cohort study at the emergency department (ED) of the Helen Schneider Hospital for Women, Israel, during 2014-2018. This included all gravida women >18 years old within the 20th week of pregnancy or above, admitted to the ED with diverse complains, who had urinalysis collected and subsequently had a positive urine culture. Clinical and obstetric characteristics were stratified by positive vs. negative nitrites in urinalysis. The primary outcome was premature delivery, and the secondary outcomes were a composite outcome of all recorded pregnancy complications and the significance of urinalysis in predicting urinary tract infection (UTI). Results Overall, 874 pregnant women with a positive urine culture were included. Of them, 721 (79%) patients had a negative nitrite in their urine exam (NNU-group) and 153 (21%) had a positive nitrite in their urine exam (PNU-group). Escherichia coli was the most common pathogen, with significantly higher rates of growth in the PNU-group vs. NNU-group [129 (84.3%) vs. 227 (38.4%), P < 0.001]. Premature delivery was recorded with no association of symptomaticity or nitrite status. Among symptomatic women with classic symptoms of UTI, PNU was significantly associated with decreased risk for major peripartum complications [odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.22 (0.05-0.94)]. Conclusion Our findings support that PNU among symptomatic pregnant women with UTI-related symptoms was associated with lower risk of developing major adverse obstetrical outcomes.


Objectives To evaluate the strength of association between maternal and pregnancy characteristics and the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes in pregnancies with laboratory confirmed COVID-19. Methods Secondary analysis of a multinational, cohort study on all consecutive pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from February 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020 from 73 centers from 22 different countries. A confirmed case of COVID-19 was defined as a positive result on real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay of nasal and pharyngeal swab specimens. The primary outcome was a composite adverse fetal outcome, defined as the presence of either abortion (pregnancy loss before 22 weeks of gestations), stillbirth (intrauterine fetal death after 22 weeks of gestation), neonatal death (death of a live-born infant within the first 28 days of life), and perinatal death (either stillbirth or neonatal death). Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate parameters independently associated with the primary outcome. Logistic regression was reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Results Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 30.6±9.5 weeks, with 8.0% of women being diagnosed in the first, 22.2% in the second and 69.8% in the third trimester of pregnancy. There were six miscarriage (2.3%), six intrauterine device (IUD) (2.3) and 5 (2.0%) neonatal deaths, with an overall rate of perinatal death of 4.2% (11/265), thus resulting into 17 cases experiencing and 226 not experiencing composite adverse fetal outcome. Neither stillbirths nor neonatal deaths had congenital anomalies found at antenatal or postnatal evaluation. Furthermore, none of the cases experiencing IUD had signs of impending demise at arterial or venous Doppler. Neonatal deaths were all considered as prematurity-related adverse events. Of the 250 live-born neonates, one (0.4%) was found positive at RT-PCR pharyngeal swabs performed after delivery. The mother was tested positive during the third trimester of pregnancy. The newborn was asymptomatic and had negative RT-PCR test after 14 days of life. At logistic regression analysis, gestational age at diagnosis (OR: 0.85, 95% CI 0.8-0.9 per week increase; p<0.001), birthweight (OR: 1.17, 95% CI 1.09-1.12.7 per 100 g decrease; p=0.012) and maternal ventilatory support, including either need for oxygen or CPAP (OR: 4.12, 95% CI 2.3-7.9; p=0.001) were independently associated with composite adverse fetal outcome. Conclusions Early gestational age at infection, maternal ventilatory supports and low birthweight are the main determinants of adverse perinatal outcomes in fetuses with maternal COVID-19 infection. Conversely, the risk of vertical transmission seems negligible.


The in utero environment plays an essential role in shaping future growth and development. Psychological distress during pregnancy has been shown to perturb the delicate physiological milieu of pregnancy, and has been associated with negative repercussions in the offspring, including adverse birth outcomes, long-term defects in cognitive development, behavioral problems during childhood and high baseline levels of stress-related hormones. Fetal epigenetic programming, involving epigenetic processes, may help explain the link between maternal prenatal stress and its negative effects on the child. Given the potential long-term effects of early-life stress on a child’s health, it is crucial to minimize maternal distress during pregnancy. A number of recent studies have examined the usefulness of mindfulness-based programs to reduce prenatal psychological stress and improve maternal psychological health, and these are reviewed here. Overall, the findings are promising, but more research is needed with large studies using randomized controlled study designs. It remains unclear whether or not such interventions could also improve child health outcomes, and whether these changes are modulated at the epigenetic level during fetal development. Further studies in this area are needed.

Concepts: Psychology, Pregnancy, Embryo, Fetus, Uterus, Fertility, Abortion, Gestational age


The objective of this study was to evaluate the underlying causes of neonatal mortality (NNM) in midwife-attended home births and compare them to hospital births attended by a midwife or a physician in the United States (US).

Concepts: Childbirth, Death, Fetus, United States, Obstetrics, Poverty in the United States, Infant mortality, Pediatrics


Background Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity resulting in intra-amniotic infection is associated with obstetrical complications such as preterm labor with intact or ruptured membranes, cervical insufficiency, as well as clinical and histological chorioamnionitis. The most widely accepted pathway for intra-amniotic infection is the ascension of microorganisms from the lower genital tract. However, hematogenous dissemination of microorganisms from the oral cavity or intestine, retrograde seeding from the peritoneal cavity through the fallopian tubes, and introduction through invasive medical procedures have also been suggested as potential pathways for intra-amniotic infection. The primary reason that an ascending pathway is viewed as most common is that the microorganisms most often detected in the amniotic fluid are those that are typical inhabitants of the vagina. However, thus far, no studies have shown that microorganisms in the amniotic cavity are simultaneously present in the vagina of the woman from which they were isolated. The objective of the study was to determine the frequency with which microorganisms isolated from women with intra-amniotic infection are also present in the lower genital tract. Methods This was a cross-sectional study of women with intra-amniotic infection with intact membranes. Intra-amniotic infection was defined as a positive culture and elevated concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) (>2.6 ng/mL) in amniotic fluid and/or acute histologic chorioamnionitis and funisitis. Microorganisms isolated from bacterial cultures of amniotic fluid were taxonomically identified through matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) and 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing. Vaginal swabs were obtained at the time of amniocentesis for the identification of microorganisms in the lower genital tract. The overall bacterial profiles of amniotic fluids and vaginal swabs were characterized through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The bacterial profiles of vaginal swabs were interrogated for the presence of bacteria cultured from amniotic fluid and for the presence of prominent (>1% average relative abundance) operational taxonomic units (OTUs) within the overall 16S rRNA gene bacterial profiles of amniotic fluid. Results (1) A total of 75% (6/8) of women had bacteria cultured from their amniotic fluid that are typical residents of the vaginal ecosystem. (2) A total of 62.5% (5/8) of women with bacteria cultured from their amniotic fluid also had these bacteria present in their vagina. (3) The microorganisms cultured from amniotic fluid and also detected in the vagina were Ureaplasma urealyticum, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus agalactiae. (4) 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the amniotic fluid of women with intra-amniotic infection had bacterial profiles dominated by Sneathia, Ureaplasma, Prevotella, Lactobacillus, Escherichia, Gardnerella, Peptostreptococcus, Peptoniphilus, and Streptococcus, many of which had not been cultured from the amniotic fluid samples. (5) Seventy percent (7/10) of the prominent (>1% average relative abundance) OTUs found in amniotic fluid were also prominent in the vagina. Conclusion The majority of women with intra-amniotic infection had bacteria cultured from their amniotic fluid that were typical vaginal commensals, and these bacteria were detected within the vagina at the time of amniocentesis. Molecular microbiological interrogation of amniotic fluid from women with intra-amniotic infection revealed that the bacterial profiles of amniotic fluid were largely consistent with those of the vagina. These findings indicate that ascension from the lower genital tract is the primary pathway for intra-amniotic infection.


Abstract Human milk confers health benefits of vital importance for the sick and preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Mother’s own milk is the first choice in preterm infant feeding, and every effort should be made to promote lactation. When mother’s milk is not available or is insufficient, donor human milk (DHM) is recommended. Yet, occasionally, the concern that the use of DHM might decrease breastfeeding is being raised. The present data collection planned by the Italian Association of Human Milk Banks (AIBLUD) in collaboration with the Italian Neonatal Network (INN) attempted to address this concern. A total of 4277 very low birth weight (VLBW) infants from 83 Italian NICUs were evaluated for this comparative analysis. The 83 Italian NICUs were divided into two groups: centers with a human milk bank (HMB) and centers without a HMB; the available parameters in the network - “any and exclusive breastfeeding rates” and “exclusive formula rate” at discharge - were compared. Exclusive breastfeeding rate at discharge was significantly higher in NICUs with a HMB than in NICUs without (29.6% vs. 16.0%, respectively). Any breastfeeding rate at discharge tended to be higher in the NICUs with HMB (60.4% vs. 52.8%, P=0.09), and exclusive formula rate was lower in the NICUs with HMB (26.5% vs. 31.3%), but this difference was not significant. This report shows that the presence of a HMB and the use of DHM in NICU are associated with increased breastfeeding rate at discharge from the hospital for VLBW infants.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Milk, Breastfeeding, Lactation, Pediatrics, Breast milk, Human milk banking in North America


Objectives Absence of fetal breathing movements (FBM) has been found to be a good predictor of preterm delivery in symptomatic patients. However, analysis of FBM patterns and Doppler measurement of them for preterm birth prediction have not been performed before. In this study, we aimed to investigate and analyze FBM patterns in symptomatic preterm labor patients by fetal ultrasonography and nasal Doppler. Methods This was a multicenter, prospective cohort study. Singleton pregnant patients between 24 and 37 gestational weeks diagnosed with preterm labor were included in the study. Patients were evaluated in three groups: no FBM (Group 1), regular FBM (Group 2), irregular FBM (Group3). Results Seventy-three patients were available for the final analysis after exclusion. Preterm delivery rate in 24 h in groups were 91.7, 32.7 and 100%, respectively. The absence of FBM (Group 1) was statistically significant for preterm delivery in for both 24 (91.7 vs. 42.6%, p=0.002) and 48 h (91.7 vs. 49.2%, p=0.006) when compared with fetal breathing positive Group 2 and 3. In fetal nasal Doppler analyses in Group 2, the inspiration/expiration number rate was significantly lower in the patients who delivered in 24 h (0.98±0.2 vs. 1.25±0.57, p=0.015). By using fetal nasal Doppler, combination of absence of FBM or irregular FBM or regular FBM with inspiration number/expiration number (I/E) <1.25 detects 94.6% of patients who will eventually deliver in the first 24 h after admission. Conclusions Examining FBM patterns and using nasal Doppler may help the clinician to differentiate those who will deliver preterm and may be an invaluable tool for managing preterm labor patients.