Study finds bacteria in placentas of healthy pregnant women, may play role in preterm birth

May 22, 2014 6:56 AM

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WASHINGTON — Surprising new research shows a small but diverse community of bacteria lives in the placentas of healthy pregnant women, overturning the belief that fetuses grow in a pretty sterile environment.

These are mostly varieties of "good germs" that live in everybody. But Wednesday's study also hints that the make-up of this microbial colony plays a role in premature birth.

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