Hundreds of Babies Become Stillborn Or Premature Due To Wrong Thread Used In Cervical Stitch Procedures

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald August 05, 05:10 am

A certain type of thread used by doctors during cervical stitch procedures is reportedly damaging the baby in a woman's womb. A new study found that hundreds of stillborn and premature babies annually could have been saved if this thread isn't used on their mothers' cervix.

Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London found that the deaths of about 260 babies and 280 cases of premature infants annually could have been prevented if doctors switched to a thinner nylon thread during cervical stitch procedures. The procedure entails closing a woman's cervix during pregnancy.

One in 200 pregnant women at risk of miscarriage or delivering their babies early undergo cervical stitch procedures. The study's research team found that the thread used in majority of these procedures is thicker, which stimulates the growth of bacteria.

When bacteria accumulate in the cervix, infection often follows and activates a harmful immune response that pushes women to have an early delivery or worse, a stillbirth. Phillip Bennett, a professor and the lead author of the study, advised doctors against using the thicker thread until further investigations of its risks are studied.

Dr. David MacIntyre, the scientific lead of the research, said lab-based experiments found that the thicker thread's woven structure makes it easier for bacteria to multiply on it. The smooth and thinner thread, meanwhile, doesn't encourage bacteria growth.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preterm birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In the United Kingdom, approximately 50,000 babies are born prematurely, putting premature birth as the country's leading cause of neonatal death, The Telegraph reported.

Preterm birth affects one in every 10 babies born in the United States. It is also the leading cause of children developing long-term neurological problems.

This comes as unsurprising by now, but drinking, smoking, and using drugs can also harm a woman's unborn baby. Those bad habits increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and defects in babies such as cerebral palsy and low birth weight, the Daily Mail listed.

Smoking increases cleft palate or cleft lip risk, while drinking encourages a host of fetal alcohol syndrome including stunted growth, facial defects, cognitive disabilities, and developmental delays. Using drugs like cocaine and heroin during pregnancy, meanwhile, can give babies heart and kidney diseases, HIV and hepatitis, smaller head circumference, and reduces the blood flow of oxygen to the placenta.

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