Through the Microbial Looking Glass: Premature Labor, Preeclampsia, and Gestational Diabetes: A Scoping Review

Alexis B. Dunn, Lisa Hanson, Leona Vandevusse, Sharon Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of microbial factors on adverse perinatal outcomes has become the focal point of recent investigations, with particular interest in the role of the microbiome and probiotic interventions. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify and critique the most recent evidence about these factors as they relate to pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia (PEC), preterm birth (PTB), and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Four databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane) were searched for articles published in English in the last 10 years with the concepts of the microbiome, probiotics, and PEC, PTB, or GDM. Forty-nine articles were eligible for full-text review. Five articles were excluded, leaving 44 articles that met all the eligibility criteria. The relationships between the microbiome and the risk for PEC, PTB, and GDM are not fully elucidated, although probiotic interventions seem beneficial in decreasing PEC and GDM risk. Probiotic interventions targeting bacterial vaginosis and elimination of infection in women at risk for PTB appear to be beneficial. More research is needed to understand the contributions of the microbiome to adverse perinatal outcomes. Probiotic interventions appear to be effective in reducing risk for select outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • gestational diabetes
  • microbiome
  • prebiotics
  • preeclampsia
  • preterm birth
  • probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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