You might have seen recent health stories about how the gut biome is important for human health. There’s been a similar debate about bacteria in the placenta. It was thought that it was a sterile environment, but in 2014 a study came out that said that low levels of bacteria were in there.
A new study shows that these earlier results were likely due to contamination and that the placenta is sterile. Phys.org reported on the study.
The new study used tissue samples from over 575 women. These were tested using multiple techniques to see if bacteria were present in the tissue. No evidence was found of a particular biome within the placenta.
However, they did find outside contamination. They found the same strain of E. coli in hundreds of samples and believe it came from contaminated test kits.
They also found vaginal bacteria, which was also found in the 2104 study. However, by comparing the levels between babies who were born vaginally and who were born via C-section, they found higher levels in the former. This suggests that there was contamination of the tissue during birth.
Bacterial contamination of the placenta can lead to premature birth and chorioamnionitis, a dangerous infection. Proof that there should be no bacteria in the placenta will help doctors catch infections earlier.