Article Title

Comparison of the genital microbiomes of pregnant aboriginal and non-aboriginal women


The genital microbiomes of women varies with racial background. Preterm birth and early-onset neonatal sepsis are two outcomes associated with genital infections during pregnancy. The rate of preterm birth in Aboriginal Australian mothers is high, as is the rate of early-onset sepsis in their infants. To date, no studies have been conducted to investigate genital microbiome taxa associated infection in this group of women. A prospective cohort study to characterize the vaginal and placental microbiomes of a group of these women from the Pilbara region was conducted at the Hedland Health Campus in Western Australia. Included in the study were gravidae Aboriginal (n = 23) and Non-aboriginal (n = 27) women in labor or for planned lower uterine segment Caesarean section. Employing sterile swabs, vaginal samples were obtained under sterile conditions immediately prior to vaginal delivery or planned Caesarean section; and placental samples were obtained under the same conditions during labor. Taxa present in the samples were identified by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing (V4 region, 515F-806R). Taxon identity and abundance were established from Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) counts. Statistical analyses combining clinical metadata and sequencing results were employed to determine associations of taxa with racial background. The findings of this work served to enhance the current understanding of microbiota associated with health and disease in Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal women. Differences were found between the vaginal and placental microbiomes of Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal women during pregnancy, as well as notable differences between the abundance of specific taxa in each racial group. The relative abundances of specific taxa were significantly different between participants with clinical signs of infection and those with healthy pregnancies. This work will contribute to understanding the causes of differences in rates of infection-driven preterm birth in various racial populations.


Australian aboriginal women, pregnancy, vaginal microbiome, placental microbiome, infection, preterm birth, neonatal sepsis

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library