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What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a condition caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina . BV is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age, and affects 1 in 5 pregnant women.

What are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis ?

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include a thin white discharge with a "fishy" smell. However, half of women with BV have no symptoms at all. Women with additional symptoms such as burning or itching should be examined for other possible infections such as yeast  or trichomoniasis.

Can Bacterial Vaginosis Affect My Pregnancy ?

Having BV while pregnant may increase the risk for complications during pregnancy such as premature rupture of membranes, preterm labor, preterm birth, infections of the uterus, and increases  the risk for getting  other infections .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  does not recommend routine testing for bacterial vaginosis (BV) in pregnancy.

Is There a Treatment ?

Although BV will sometimes clear up without treatment , the CDC recommends treating all pregnant women with symptoms.

Recommend Regimens for Pregnant Women
Metronidazole 500 mg orally twice a day for 7 days OR

Metronidazole 250 mg orally three times a day for 7 days OR

Clindamycin 300 mg orally twice a day for 7 days

Treatment is intended to get rid of the signs and symptoms of BV.  It is not well established whether or not treatment will help to
 prevent  poor pregnancy outcomes such as premature rupture of membranes, preterm labor, or preterm birth associated with BV.

Can BV be Prevented ?

Sexual activity is a risk factor for BV, but women who have never had sexual intercourse may also be affected. Other risk factors for BV include

  • Multiple sex partners
  • Douching
  • Cigarette smoking

Avoiding the above risk factors may help to prevent you from getting BV.

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4. Yudin MH, Money DM; Infectious Diseases Committee.Screening and management of bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2008 Aug;30(8):702-16. PMID:18786293
5. Lamont RF, et al. Treatment of abnormal vaginal flora in early pregnancy with clindamycin for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth: a systematic review and metaanalysis.Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Sep;205(3):177-90. PMID:22071048
6. Morales WJ, et al., Effect of metronidazole in patients with preterm birth in preceding pregnancy and bacterial vaginosis: a placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Aug;171(2):345-7; PMID8059811



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