Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy

image001Bacterial Vaginosis, also known as BV is the major source for vagina inflammation, or vaginitis. Other causes include candidiasis, which is a yeast infection and trichomoniases that is caused by protozoan. At least 3 million women suffer from BV and about 60% of them usually catch STDs. Knowing the causes, treatments and prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis during pregnancy can help you better deal with or even avoid this condition.

What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy?

Bacterial Vaginosis occurs due to a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. It is a common problem occurring in pregnant women and at least 1 out of 5 women suffer from BV. Lacobacilli, also known as good bacteria are usually found more than other types of bacteria to help keep things under control, but when the count of Lacobacilli reduces in comparison with the other bacteria, an imbalance occurs creating an infection.

Prevention Measures

  • Take vitamin D: It is also possible that you develop BV during pregnancy due to a shortage of vitamin D, as it very essential for the immune system. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you aren’t consuming enough vitamin D. You can also consume probiotic pills on a regular basis if the doctor recommends it.
  • Use pH-neutral and unscented soap to wash your genital area.
  • Use condom when having sex to prevent infection.

What Are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy?

Though BV causes an imbalance and creates an infection, some women don’t experience any symptoms. Women who experience symptoms can see a discharge that’s thin and gray in color, with a bad odor. In addition, this fishy smell is very noticeable after intercourse as the semen and the discharge gets mixed. Some people may also sense a burning sensation while urinating, but this is not very common.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to contact your healthcare provider immediately. After testing a few samples of the vaginal fluid, the healthcare provider will inform you if you are suffering from BV or any other infections and prescribe the right medicine.

Do You Need to Be Screened for Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy?

The CDC states that all the pregnant women who experience symptoms related to BV should be screened and treated. In addition, the CDC also encourages healthcare providers to screen women who have experienced preterm labor previously. However, it depends on the healthcare provider to screen and treat you for BV.

Most of the healthcare providers don’t screen women who don’t show any symptoms for BV as it isn’t considered necessary. Pregnant women who obtain prenatal care aren’t screened for BV, but it is important for you to discuss any symptoms and ask questions if you are worried about BV. 

How Will Bacterial Vaginosis Affect Your Pregnancy?

BV won’t affect pregnancy in most cases and most healthcare providers won’t even screen you for it, unless you inform them that you are experiencing the symptoms. The best part is that at least half of the percentages of women suffering from BV recover on their own. However, you shouldn’t treat this lightly, as untreated symptoms can cause complications further.

These complications include going into your labor period sooner than estimated, giving birth to a baby with low weight and developing a uterus infection after giving birth. In some cases, BV can also induce miscarriage and therefore, if you have experienced complications and given birth to a premature baby previously, it is best to test for BV, to be sure.

It is not clear as to why only some women suffer pregnancy complications from BV while others recover on their own. In few rare cases, BV can also affect women who have never had intercourse and thus, it’s not considered an STD, but it could make women prone to catch STDs.

How to Treat Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy

Home Remedies

There are a few home remedies that you can try to relieve the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis during pregnancy, such as eating foods with probiotics. The following video introduces simple and effective ways that you can use to bring down the fishy odor:

Medical Treatments

If you are screened and test positive for BV during pregnancy, your physician might prescribe an antibiotic course that can be consumed as tablets or a gel that can inserted into the vagina. However, this depends on your symptoms as a treatment might not even be required if you experience mild symptoms. The doctor might recommend the course just to be safe. It is unclear as to whether you should go through any treatments if you don’t experience any symptoms from BV, but it is best to complete the course of antibiotics if they are prescribed, as they work to clear any infections developed in the vagina and also provide relief from any symptoms.

Follow-up Care. Though some women experience decreased symptoms just within 3 months after they take the antibiotics course, however, one can’t get the good bacteria to grow and outnumber the bad bacteria. Your physician will check you again within a month to see if the symptoms are back, but you should inform him immediately if you notice that the symptoms have returned.

Vaginal Ph Balance. Your doctor might also treat you by introducing acidity to change your vagina’s Ph balance and this involves a tablet that can be dissolved or using a gel that can be inserted into the vagina. Increased acidity levels reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. However, there isn’t much evidence to prove that this treatment works and therefore, your doctor might not recommend them. But some women have found it helpful for recurring symptoms and as the treatment is harmless, you can try them. You also find over the counter medicines for Ph imbalance in pharmacies.

Medications That May Help. The following medicines may provide relief, but it’s extremely important to gain the permission of your doctor before taking any medication or using any medical products.

  • Oral medications that include Metronidazole 500 mg and Clindamycin 300 mg consumed twice a day for a week could help.
  • In addition, Topical medications like Metronidazole and Clindamycin 5 g consumed at night for 5 days are also recommended. However, you need to remember that though these treatments could provide relief from symptoms, it is not suitable to prevent complications during pregnancy.

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