Academics & Research

Research

Chlamydia Associated with Fourfold Risk of Gastroschisis

Positive antibody tests for chlamydia trachomatis in pregnant women were associated with almost a fourfold higher risk for gastroschisis in their newborns, a pilot study found. The study included 33 pregnant women whose prenatal ultrasounds showed their fetuses had gastroschisis (cases), a protrusion of the intestine, and sometimes other organs, through a hole in the abdominal wall, and a group of 66 pregnant women (controls) whose ultrasounds showed no fetal abnormalities. Evidence of a recent chlamydia infection in the mothers-to-be was confirmed by blood tests.

The researchers also found that cases were significantly more likely to be younger than controls, less educated, smoke cigarettes, report having a previous sexually transmitted disease and, among those who’d been pregnant before, report a different sexual partner with their current pregnancy. Cases also reported a lower median age when they became sexually active and a greater number of sexual partners than controls, putting them at greater risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease.  

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It can cause infertility and is becoming a public health issue as its occurrence increases. This study was the first step to better understanding the relationship between chlamydia infections and gastroschisis. Future research will investigate chlamydia-related inflammation. 

Marcia FeldkampPediatrics