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Author Notes:

Irene Yang, irene.yang@emory.edu

IY, EC, AD, NG, and VH contributed to the conception and design of the study. IY, RA, and HC contributed to the data curation. HC and IY performed the formal analysis. IY wrote the first draft of the manuscript. HC and RA wrote sections of the manuscript. All authors contributed to manuscript revision, read, and approved the submitted version.

We are grateful for the support of Kristi Logue, Castalia Thorne, Cassandra Hall, and Shirleta Reid for their help in recruiting participants for this study.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

Support for this study came from NIH - National Institute of Nursing Research grant number R01NR014800 and NIH – National Institute of Nursing Research grant number K01NR016971.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • pregnancy
  • oral microbiome
  • periodontal disease
  • preterm birth
  • subgingival microbiome
  • SP NOV.
  • CARE

Subgingival Microbiome in Pregnancy and a Potential Relationship to Early Term Birth


Journal Title:



Volume 12


, Pages 873683-873683

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: Periodontal disease in pregnancy is considered a risk factor for adverse birth outcomes. Periodontal disease has a microbial etiology, however, the current state of knowledge about the subgingival microbiome in pregnancy is not well understood. Objective: To characterize the structure and diversity of the subgingival microbiome in early and late pregnancy and explore relationships between the subgingival microbiome and preterm birth among pregnant Black women. Methods: This longitudinal descriptive study used 16S rRNA sequencing to profile the subgingival microbiome of 59 Black women and describe microbial ecology using alpha and beta diversity metrics. We also compared microbiome features across early (8-14 weeks) and late (24-30 weeks) gestation overall and according to gestational age at birth outcomes (spontaneous preterm, spontaneous early term, full term). Results: In this sample of Black pregnant women, the top twenty bacterial taxa represented in the subgingival microbiome included a spectrum representative of various stages of biofilm progression leading to periodontal disease, including known periopathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia. Other organisms associated with periodontal disease reflected in the subgingival microbiome included several Prevotella spp., and Campylobacter spp. Measures of alpha or beta diversity did not distinguish the subgingival microbiome of women according to early/late gestation or full term/spontaneous preterm birth; however, alpha diversity differences in late pregnancy between women who spontaneously delivered early term and women who delivered full term were identified. Several taxa were also identified as being differentially abundant according to early/late gestation, and full term/spontaneous early term births. Conclusions: Although the composition of the subgingival microbiome is shifted toward complexes associated with periodontal disease, the diversity of the microbiome remains stable throughout pregnancy. Several taxa were identified as being associated with spontaneous early term birth. Two, in particular, are promising targets of further investigation. Depletion of the oral commensal Lautropia mirabilis in early pregnancy and elevated levels of Prevotella melaninogenica in late pregnancy were both associated with spontaneous early term birth.

Copyright information:

© 2022 Yang, Claussen, Arthur, Hertzberg, Geurs, Corwin and Dunlop

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/rdf).
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