Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance in the normal bacteria that exist in a woman’s vagina. Studies reveal that approximately 10% – 30% of pregnant women experience bacterial vaginosis during their pregnancy. It is not a sexually transmitted disease, but is associated with vaginal intercourse.
One of the symptoms include gray or whitish discharge with a foul odor. However, some women do not experience any symptoms and diagnosis is made through a pelvic exam.Microscopic slide test, KOH slide or a whiff test (a mixture that causes a strong fishy odor) and pH test (BV often causes a pH level of 4.5 or higher) can be used to test the vaginal discharge.
An imbalance of bacteria leads to an over growth of bacterial species causing bacterial vaginosis. The cause has not clearly been identified. It is not transmitted sexually, but it is associated with having vaginal sex.
Certain studies show a significant evidence that links bacterial vaginosis with preterm labor. Other studies have also shown a possible link to low birth weight, miscarriages and premature rupture of membranes.
It is not necessary to screen pregnant women for BV if they do not possess any symptoms. It is important to discuss any concerns you may have about bacterial vaginosis with your health care provider.
The Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises all pregnant women with symptoms of bacterial vaginosis to be screened and treated. Your health care provider may decide the screening procedure for BV.
Treatment is highly recommended to avoid any chance of preterm labor.
The treatments include:
Certain research suggests that antibiotic treatment may reduce the risk of premature rupture of membranes and low birth weight for women with a history of preterm labor and who have bacterial vaginosis.