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Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, don’t panic, but do seek treatment. Many women who have had BV during their pregnancy never experience any detrimental effects. However, there has been research reported that it can cause certain unwanted problems such as an increased risk for miscarriages, PPROM (preterm premature rupture of amniotic membranes), and even complications after delivery such as a uterine infection.

As to why some women infected with BV experience these problems during pregnancy and others do not is very poorly understood. There are differing opinions, but some studies suggest that bacterial vaginosis may just act as a sign to other infections and/or problems that often cause premature birth. Statistically, it is certain that those women who are diagnosed early on during pregnancy are at a much higher risk of developing problems than those that are develop the infection farther along in the pregnancy. Therefore, if you already know that you have BV and are pregnant, it is important that you take the necessary steps (see your OB/GYN first) to prevent other infections by treating the condition.

Although it hasn’t been “statistically” proven that actually treating the condition will reduce the risk of preterm delivery and other problems, experts still suggest that treatment be done because of the fact that women with bacterial vaginosis are at a greater risk for a preterm delivery.

Many doctors highly recommend that women who are pregnant and have had previous preterm deliveries be tested for BV, and consequently, receive the proper treatment. Other “experts” disagree based on some research that treating pregnant women makes no difference. Therefore, if you are wondering why you weren’t screened during your initial prenatal appointment, it was probably because there is conflicting evidence regarding the effectiveness at reducing the risk of preterm delivery through treatment. In fact, most often you will not be screened, unless you are at a high risk for early delivery.

There is still a considerable amount of study and testing to be done to determine if treatment during pregnancy will lower harmful risks. Some doctors feel that in the studies previously done, treatment came too late (after the first trimester) when the bad bacteria had already advanced to the amniotic membranes. However, many doctors are still skeptical about treating BV during the first trimester because it is not wise for the mother to be taking any medication that could be harmful to the baby during that critical time. Normally, pregnant women aren’t treated during this time, even though recent evidence seems to indicate that using Metronidazole should be safe. It will be interesting to see if it can be proven that bacterial vaginosis treatment during pregnancy really does reduce the risk of a preterm birth, and if so, if treatment will be extended regularly to the first trimester as well.

How many women are infected with BV during pregnancy? The statistics are rough, but the percentage is around 20%.

How will you be treated for BV while you’re pregnant? Your doctor will most likely prescribe to you antibiotics. BV is caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. Unfortunately, antibiotics have no way of distinguishing between them and will kill them both off. Therefore, if the good bacteria is outgrown again by the bad bacteria, you’re symptoms and the condition will return. This is a common problem with using antibiotics to treat BV, but they will clear up your symptoms for a short time. Hopefully, you will not have recurrent BV, but statistically at least 1/3 of all women treated with antibiotics suffer from vaginosis again within 3 months. Other sources report as high as 3/4 of women have recurrent BV after being treated.



10 Responses to “Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy”

  1. vasilisa ermakova on November 12th, 2008 3:20 pm

    you have really got me worried now, i am 21 weeks pregnant and yesterday went for a check up and was diagnosed with bv, i was given Metronidazole so i hope it will work. do you see azny risks??

  2. Brittney on November 13th, 2008 12:04 am

    If you mean risks from taking Metronidazole, then probably not. Since you are not in your first trimester, it should be safe to take this antibiotic. Even if you were less than 14 weeks pregnant, there isn’t conclusive evidence that Metronidazole causes any harm. Hope that helps.

  3. Me on December 24th, 2010 5:30 pm

    I was diagosed at 6wks im now 7wks my condition has worsened the doc did not treat me bcus im too early she also stated its nothing i should worry about. But im having lite cramps and i dnt knw if its the bv or baby. Im really worried and want to b treated

  4. Kelley Anderson on July 2nd, 2011 6:35 am

    so, I have been diagnosed with BV this pregnancy and have had 2 preterm babies before this one. Could BV be the reason? And why did my doctor NEVER test me for it even after my first preterm baby born at 31 weeks. I was diagnosed with BV this time at about 9 weeks. I was treated with Metronidazole and it went away then came back. They gave me metronidazole again. It went away and now is back again. What are other ways of treating this? I am now 31 weeks and have been to Labor and Delivery over 5 times to stop contractions. I am on a daily dose of percardia (sp?) Could BV really be responsible for all my preterm labor?

  5. M on September 2nd, 2011 11:02 pm

    ive just been diagnosed. am 7ish weeks pregnant. dont really have any symptoms. my prev pregnancy was perfect–well if i had it that dr didnt find it. im not for taking any med during pregnancy and that scares me. also so does all the complications that can occur. ive never had anything like this not even a yeast infection. i dont do any of the risk factors, i hardly have sex and is always same person for years. how frustrating!

  6. Laura on September 7th, 2011 12:35 am

    Im 18 weeks pregnant, my doctor diognosed me with b.v, he gave me cream to insert inside myself, i used the cream once and it gave me an alergic reaction on the outside, the doctor gave me cream because he said i ant take the tablets during pregnancy, if i was to ask for the tablets would he give them to me?

  7. Nikki J on October 10th, 2011 1:00 am

    I am now on my second infection of BV. I am scared that I will have my baby early. Can anyone relate to me? I am worried that my baby will come to early and will have complications. What can I do to prevent or stop baby from coming to early?

  8. Lynn on November 2nd, 2011 12:39 am

    My first infection was diagnosed at 8 weeks and treated at 14 weeks. I’m 19 weeks and it’s back again. I’m so frustrated, and now scared because of possible miscarriage, pre-term birth, etc. I’m hoping someone has more information out there on how to prevent, if not just prohibit a little?

  9. sarah on December 2nd, 2011 2:29 am

    I was diagnosed with BV, and Chlymidia at16 weeks pregnant, I was givin meds for both right away. Now they are cured do I still have a chance at going into premature labor

  10. ashley s on March 6th, 2012 3:39 pm

    i am 2 months pregnant but was diagnosed with bv before i knew and i recently started taking half doses of vH essentials BV treatment nightly before bed… it has cleared up my symptoms but i am only on the first dose, is it safe for my baby ?

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