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SweMaMi - I want to know more

Why study our bacterial flora?

Bacteria exist all over our bodies, including in our gut, mouth, and vagina. A mother's bacterial flora, also called the maternal microbiome, is believed to have important effects for the mother and her child's health. It has been associated with preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Additional factors are also thought to affect this association, including medication (e.g. antibiotics), lifestyle and diet.

Why should I participate?

It is only over the last few years that scientists have been able to start mapping our microbiome. A few smaller studies indicate that the microbiome can give us important information on our health, but only a handful of studies focus specifically on women's health. We want to change that, and that's why we ask for your help! Your contribution means a lot to us, and as a thank you, we will send a small surprise with the last sampling kit. Additionally, you will be able to stay updated on the latest study results on the SweMaMi website.

What do previous studies show?

The majority of existing studies on our bacterial flora during pregnancy are based on relatively small study sizes, and due to the large variation in the composition of bacterial floras, the differences between a healthy and unhealthy bacterial flora are still unclear. For that reason, our aim with this project is to evaluate the connection between the maternal microbiome both during and after pregnancy, as well as the risk for complications for both the mother and child.

How does the study work?

Bacterial samples and questionnaire answers will be collected from 2500 pregnant women in Sweden during pregnancy week 10-19, pregnancy week 28-30, and 6-10 weeks after the estimated date of delivery. All data is then connected to Swedish health registers in combination with data from Swedish childbirth journals. This will make it possible to make reliable assessments of complications for the mother and child, while taking into external factors such as lifestyle and medicine use.

Are there any risks in participating?

Microbial sampling is a procedure which is low risk for you and likely no risk for your unborn child. The sampling procedure brings at the most minimal and temporary discomfort. Because the procedure for sampling is so simple, this technique may be used for the screening of pregnant women to identify unhealthy bacterial flora in the future, if it is found to be valuable and cost-effective. Because of this, we believe that our study will have a large impact and meaning for many families further down the line.

This sounds interesting, how can I participate?

To join our study, you can click here!