News & Comment

Medical Research: Guarding Against Premature Birth

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Science  12 Jan 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5246, pp. 139
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5246.139b


Boston—Babies born prematurely are 120 times more likely to die than those carried to full term, so the recent discovery that bacterial infections of the mother's reproductive tract are one cause of premature birth was welcome news. It implied that antibiotic treatment of the mother could reduce infant mortality. But while one set of studies suggests that treatment during pregnancy can yield substantial benefits, another points to the need to screen both the father and mother before conception.