Posted: Jan 23, 2010 11:06 AM by NBC
Updated: Jan 23, 2010 11:06 AM
Doctors have determined severe gum disease lead to the death of a fetus in California two years ago.
A mother, during her pregnancy, had excessive bleeding in her gums, which is a symptom of pregnancy-associated gingivitis. Sadly, she delivered a full-term, but stillborn baby. Doctors later linked bacteria from her mouth to bacteria found in the baby's lungs.
Bleeding gums are actually common during pregnancies, and the mother's immune system usually prevents oral bacteria from reaching the fetus. But in this case, the mother got an upper respiratory infection just days before delivering.
Doctors say a visit to the dentist should be part of standard prenatal care.