Published: 05-12-2017 14:38 | Updated: 14-05-2019 08:56

Are you pregnant (before week 19)?

Could your microbiome predict a healthy pregnancy and delivery?

The microbiome refers to the community of all bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms residing at the different locations of your body, of which many are believed to have a beneficial effect on your health. With this large project we would like to explore how the microbiome during pregnancy is related to pregnancy-related medical problems in expecting mothers and their babies, to hopefully be able to detect, prevent and treat these in the (near) future.

Since we want to reach as many pregnant women as possible and plan to recruit and follow-up 2500 women all over Sweden, you can participate completely from home, without any need for medical check-ups or additional trips to your antenatal clinic or elsewhere.

We would like your help and invite you to participate if:

  • You are older than 18 years and you are before your 19th week of pregnancy
  • You are residing in Sweden, and you have a personal identification number (”personnummer”) and postal address in Sweden (to send the home-sampling kits)
  • You are sufficiently fluent in Swedish or English to complete our web-based questionnaires

The maternal microbiome, the collection of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms in particular the oral cavity, the vagina and the gastrointestinal tract, is believed to have important effects on the health of mothers and their children. It has been associated with preterm birth, preeclampsia, pregnancy diabetes and excessive weight gain during pregnancy, all of which are common and serious complications to pregnancy. Several factors are believed to affect this relationship, including drug use (e.g. antibiotics), lifestyle and diet.

The majority of existing microbiome studies during pregnancy are based on relatively small study populations and due to the large variation in the microbiome composition it is still unclear how a healthy and unhealthy microbiome differs. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to evaluate the relationship between maternal microbiome during and after pregnancy and the risk of complications in mother and child.

Microbiome samples will be collected from 2,500 pregnant women in Sweden during pregnancy week 17-19, pregnancy week 28-30 and 6-10 weeks after childbirth. Data collection via questionnaires will be done at the same time as above, and this data will then be linked with Swedish health records (especially the drug register) in combination with childbirth data. This will enable reliable evaluation of complications for mothers and children taking into account potential factors in the form of inter alia lifestyle factors and drug use.

Microbiome sampling is a procedure that is at low risk for the woman and is unlikely to be a risk to the unborn child, and causes no or only minimal and temporary discomfort. As the procedure for sampling is easy to implement, it may be introduced in the screening of pregnant women to identify unhealthy microbiome in the future if this would be assessed costly and cost-effectively. Therefore, we believe our research will be of great importance to many families in the future.

To read more about this study visit the website:

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Contact information:

The Centre for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR)
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology
Karolinska Institutet
Nobelsväg 16, 17177

Phone: 0722187905