A bug (bacterium) known as GBS (Group B Streptococcus) is present in the birth canal in about 1 in 5 pregnant women. In 2019 we demonstrated that GBS can get into the womb before labour starts and we can find it in the placenta. We now have evidence that GBS gets into the placenta by invading the womb, that the baby is at increased risk of complications following the birth when this happens, and that the reason for this is that the GBS hyperstimulates the baby’s immune system. We now want to study a large number of women being delivered by planned caesarean section. Studying samples from women attending for a planned caesarean section means we can be sure that any bugs we find invaded the womb before labour started. We will ascertain how many women have GBS in the placenta before labour. We will ascertain how the placenta and the baby respond to the presence of GBS. We will ascertain whether anything about the specific type of GBS present in the mother determines whether or not it can invade the womb.
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