Preeclampsia (PE) is a major obstetrical syndrome and is classified as early if it occurs prior to 34 weeks of gestation. Current prediction models for PE combine maternal risk factors, uterine artery Doppler velocimetry, and maternal blood proteins. Although the detection rate of such models to identify patients at risk for early/preterm PE is sufficient to allow preventive strategies, the contribution of biochemical markers in these models is limited.

More than 135 million births occur each year; yet, the molecular underpinnings of human parturition in gestational tissues, and in particular the placenta, are still poorly understood.

Mechanisms of death in structurally normal stillbirths

Hypoxia secondary to placental dysfunction is believed to play an important role in most fetal deaths; however, evidence is indirect. Understanding the causes of hypoxia, and the intermediary steps between hypoxia and fetal death may allow identification of biomarkers that could be used to predict and prevent fetal death in women at risk for this complication.

Does the endometrial cavity have a molecular microbial signature?

Recent molecular studies concluded that the human endometrium has a resident microbiota dominated by Lactobacillus spp., similar to the vagina microbiota. However, these findings were primarily derived from endometrial samples obtained through a transcervical catheter and thus prone to contamination from the vaginal microbiota. Therefore, the existence of a resident endometrial microbiota and its structure, if indeed present, remains unknown.

Functional connectome of the fetal brain

The brain is organized as a complex network of functionally communicating regions, a network also known as the functional connectome. The fetal to neonatal period is well known as a critical stage in brain development.

Prematurity is the leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. In most cases, preterm birth is preceded by spontaneous preterm labor (PTL), a syndrome that is associated with intra-amniotic inflammation, the most studied etiology. However, the remaining etiologies of PTL are poorly understood; therefore, most preterm birth are categorized as idiopathic. Whether fetal T cell activation occurs during idiopathic PTL is unknown.

Fetal cerebral blood oxygenation status could be an important physiological parameter in identifying fetuses at risk of brain injury. Moreover, this allows the understanding of oxygen metabolism in the developing fetal brain in healthy homeostatic conditions.

The human placenta has traditionally been viewed as sterile and microbial invasion of this organ has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, recent studies utilizing DNA sequencing techniques have reported that the human placenta at term contains a unique microbiota.

Sterile intra-amniotic inflammation (IAI) is commonly observed in patients with spontaneous preterm labor. However, the mechanisms leading to sterile IAI are poorly understood and no treatment exists for this condition.

Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity resulting in intra-amniotic infection (IAI) is associated with obstetrical complications such as preterm labor with intact or ruptured membranes, cervical insufficiency, as well as clinical and histological chorioamnionitis.