Written by Hannah Kingston on August 18th, 2021
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common infection that describes the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is easily treated, but can lead to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about bacterial vaginosis and pregnancy.
Bacterial vaginosis and pregnancy
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) may cause problems for your baby during pregnancy.
If you have bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy there is an increased risk of a premature birth and low birth weight.
Bacterial vagInosis may also increase your risk of experiencing pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause problems if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Bacterial vaginosis isn’t a sexually transmitted infection, but it is common in sexually active women.
Other things that increase your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis include:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Vaginal douching
- Having unprotected sex
- A previous diagnosis of trichomoniasis
- Intrauterine device usage (using contraceptives that sit within the vagina)
Can BV affect pregnancy?
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal condition in women in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pregnant women are at increased risk of bacterial vaginosis due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
If you have bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy, your baby is at increased risk for premature birth and low birthweight.
Babies who are born too early or have a low birth rate are at an increased risk of experiencing health issues.
Bacterial vaginosis may also lead to issues with fertility. Untreated bacterial vaginosis may lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease may lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and uterine infections. This may lead to issues with conception.
Can BV cause miscarriage?
Bacterial vaginosis has been linked to miscarriages in both the first and second trimesters as well as a higher risk of pre-term delivery of pregnancy in a variety of studies.
It’s important to remember that the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis often don’t present symptoms which is why it is so important to get sexual health screening as part of your pre-natal check-ups.
Testing for bacterial vaginosis is relatively simple, your gynecologist can simply take a discharge sample and test the sample for the presence of bacteria.
How do you treat BV when pregnant?
If you test positive for bacterial vaginosis, your doctor will prescribe you with an anti-biotic cream or tablet.
Some of the common treatmentsinclude:
- metronidazole, such as Flagyl and Metrogel-Vaginal, which can be taken orally.
- tinidazole, such as Tindamax, which is another type of oral medication.
- clindamycin, such as Cleocin and Clindesse, which is a topical medication that can be inserted into the vagina.
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV) - cdc.gov
- Bacterial vaginosis in association with spontaneous abortion and recurrent pregnancy losses - jcytol.org
- Infections in Pregnancy: Bacterial Vaginosis - healthline.com
- Does vaginitis affect a pregnant woman & her infant?- nichd.nih.gov