Pregnancy Problems

Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy

Are you wondering what's going on down there? Find out what to do if you have bacterial vaginosis and how it might affect your baby.

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is a vaginal infection caused by a change in the bacteria that’s normally in the vagina. That bacteria is normally “good” and actually helps maintain vaginal health, but when the bacterial balance shifts, too many “bad” bacteria multiply and cause BV. Why it happens, no one knows for sure.

What are the signs of bacterial vaginosis?

A lot of women who have bacterial vaginosis don’t even notice it. Others report abnormal vaginal discharge and a distinct, fishy smell. (If you’ve ever had it, you know that smell!)

Are there any tests for bacterial vaginosis?

Yep. Your doc will likely see signs of BV when she does your exam, and then she’ll take a sample of vaginal fluid to be tested to know for sure.

How common is bacterial vaginosis?

Really common! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are about 1,080,000 cases of pregnant women with BV each year.

How did I get bacterial vaginosis?

It’s super-hard to say — it may have been unpreventable. But having sex with someone new, douching and having unprotected sex all up your risk.

How will my bacterial vaginosis affect my baby?

It probably won’t. In almost half of pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis seems to resolve without treatment. But some studies have linked BV with preterm labormiscarriage and premature rupture of membranes, so it’s a good idea to see your doc to get treatment right away.

What’s the best way to treat bacterial vaginosis?

Even though the infection may go away on its own, you don’t want to run the risk of it affecting your pregnancy, so your doc will likely prescribe antibiotics if you’ve got symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, your doc will probably factor in details of your personal medical history to decide how to treat your BV.

What can I do to prevent bacterial vaginosis?

Don’t douche or have unprotected sex. Wipe front to back after you use the bathroom.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have bacterial vaginosis?

See their doctors as soon as they notice abnormal vaginal discharge — we can’t urge you enough to do the same!

Are there any other resources for bacterial vaginosis?
WomensHealth.gov

American Pregnancy Association

Plus, more from The Bump:

Discharge during pregnancy? 

Avoiding preterm labor?

Top 10 Things They Should Really Warn You About Before You Get Pregnant

What’s the best way to treat bacterial vaginosis?

Even though the infection may go away on its own, you don’t want to run the risk of it affecting your pregnancy, so your doc will likely prescribe antibiotics if you’ve got symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, your doc will probably factor in details of your personal medical history to decide how to treat your BV.

What can I do to prevent bacterial vaginosis?

Don’t douche or have unprotected sex. Wipe front to back after you use the bathroom.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have bacterial vaginosis?

See their doctors as soon as they notice abnormal vaginal discharge — we can’t urge you enough to do the same!

Are there any other resources for bacterial vaginosis?

WomensHealth.gov

American Pregnancy Association

Plus, more from The Bump:

Discharge during pregnancy? 

Avoiding preterm labor?

Top 10 Things They Should Really Warn You About Before You Get Pregnant

By James O’Brien, MD, ob-gyn and medical director of inpatient obstetrics at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence