Are you pregnant? Do you suffer from vaginal inflammation? Does the intense itching sensation bother you? Did you doctor diagnose you with Bacterial Vaginosis? If you said yes, reading the following post will help you acquire requisite information of the infectious disease.
Approximately 10% – 30% expecting mothers experience the problems of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy. Due to the imbalance of the bacterial level, the woman’s vagina experiences the problem. During pregnancy, if the woman encounters constant itching or burning sensation around the vaginal region, consult the doctor immediately.
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?
Bacterial Vaginosis or BV is a typical type of bacterial infection, which occurs in the vagina. The bacteria present in the vagina helps maintain vaginal health. However, during pregnancy, the bacteria disturb the hormonal balance. As a result, the bacterial balance shifts, and the bacteria start to multiply and spread across the vagina. Thus, the pregnant woman is more prone to suffer from BV. (1)
Causes Of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
Although BV commonly occurs among pregnant women, studies conclude that the infection is not sexually transmitted. Pregnancy upsets the vagina’s bacterial levels, and harmful bacteria grow more rapidly and induce inflammation around the vaginal region.
Like stomach and intestines, there is a certain harmless group of bacteria residing in other parts of the body. Many such useful bacteria protect the body from other harmful infections. Lactobacilli are the naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina. The hormonal imbalance upsets the ratio of the bacteria. The bad bacteria tend to overgrow and cause several other health discomforts.
Some of the other factors that cause loss of lactobacilli in the vagina include:
- Excessive intake of antibiotics
- Usage of vaginal medications or systemic hormones
- Usage of contraceptive preparations
- Sexual intercourse
Lactobacilli reduction in the vagina and overgrowth of other harmful bacteria is the most common cause of BV in the pregnant woman. (2)
[ Read: Bacterial Infections During Pregnancy ]
Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
Pregnant women do not encounter the visible symptoms of BV. However, some signs of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (gray or white color)
- Fishy smell of the vaginal discharge
- The discharge is usually thin and dark
- Itching or irritation of the external vaginal area
- Pain during urination (3)
Side Effects Of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
According to numerous researchers, the problem of bacterial Vaginosis can lead to several unwanted consequences. Some of the negative effects are:
- Preterm Labor
- Low birth weight of the newborn baby
- Premature rupture of membranes
How Does Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Affect The Newborn Baby?
Pregnant women with BV are more prone to give birth to premature or underweight babies. The low birth weight indicates that the baby weighs less than 5.5 pounds at birth.
Diagnosing Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
During the medical diagnosis, the doctor will examine the vaginal discharge minutely. To check for the evidence of BV doctor will:
- Examine the vagina discharge under a medical microscope.
- Check the acidity of the vaginal discharge.
- Detect the odorous chemicals released by the bacteria.
The diagnosis of the vaginal discharge examines the characteristic of the “clue cells”(bacteria-coated cells that surround the vagina). (4)
Treating Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
There are many specific treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis in pregnant woman includes:
- Oral Medications:
Clindamycin 300 mg or Metronidazole 500 mg. The medicines can be taken twice daily for seven days.
- Topical Medications:
Clindamycin 5 g or Metronidazole can offer relief from vaginal irritation. However, these are topical medications and they cannot control the complications of pregnancy. (5)
[ Read: Symptoms Of Herpes During Pregnancy ]
Preventing Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) During Pregnancy
There are many ways to prevent or reduce the effects of Bacterial Vaginosis in pregnancy. Some of these important ways include:
- Wear clean underwear made from cotton fabric.
- Never sit too long in a wet bathing suit or wear sweaty panties.
- Always change your panties after swimming or working out.
- Wear loose and comfortable panties, to allow the air circulate through the vaginal region.
- Do not wear tight panties, as it enhances sweating and growth of harmful bacteria.
- Don’t wear any panties at night. It will help reduce the risk of vaginal infection.
- Avoid using bath oils around the vagina.
- Avoid using strong detergents to wash your cotton underwear.
- Do not add chemical antiseptics, synthetic soaps, perfumed bubble bath or shampoos to your bath water, unless your doctor okays them.
- Do not use jets or water sprays to clean your vagina. Don’t douche the vagina, as it may lead to complications.
- After using the toilet, wipe the front and back portion properly with a clean tissue paper. It will prevent spreading of bacteria from the vagina. (6)
Complications Of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy can lead to some serious health risks, such as:
- Increase the chance of HIV, if you are having sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person.
- If you suffer from BV, it increases the chances of giving birth to a premature or under-developed baby.
- Increase the risks of getting other STDs, such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea. The harmful bacteria can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In such a condition, a woman may not be able to give birth to a baby.
[ Read: Causes Of STDs During Pregnancy ]
- Transmission of infection occurs from the mother’s placenta to the unborn fetus and may lead to intrauterine fetal death.
- Developing a painful infection of the womb (uterus) after the childbirth (postpartum endometritis) (7)
If you suffer from Bacterial Vaginosis, take the necessary precautions and consult your doctor to overcome the problem of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). If you experience further complexities, seek professional medical guidance immediately.
Did you suffer from Bacterial Vaginosis while pregnant? What symptoms did you suffer from? What preventive measures did you adopt? Tell us about your story here. We would love to hear from you. Comment below!
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