Bacterial Vaginosis and Pregnancy
Bacterial Vaginosis is a very common vaginal infection that is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria that disrupts the balance within the vagina. The reason for the infection is due to the mentioned disruption of the natural balance within the vagina, but what causes that in the first place remains a bit of a mystery. It has been shown that having new or multiple sex partners can increase a woman’s chance of getting BV as can douching.
BV can cause some unpleasant symptoms which we will discuss in detail shortly, but one of the biggest concerns about BV is the effect it can have on pregnancy. A pregnant woman with BV is at risk of having premature delivery or an underweight baby which comes with complications of their own for the baby itself. And, BV can cause pelvic inflammatory disease which, if left untreated, causes infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
BV often produces no symptoms which causes many women to go without diagnosis or treatment because they have no reason to suspect that anything is wrong. BV can cause symptoms in a percentage of women that range from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms include:
• Painful urination
• Burning sensation while urinating
• Foul-smelling discharge
• Gray or white discharge
Since so many women have BV without the presence of symptoms, it tends to go untreated until other complications arise and bring attention to it. Many women don’t get tested for vaginal infections and STDs until they are faced with the pain of PID or are having trouble getting pregnant or even worse, when they’re baby is born with complications.
BV can encourage infection in women who are having reproductive surgeries and procedures such as hysterectomy and abortion. It can also make you more susceptible to infection with HIV if you’re exposed to the virus and can also increase your chances of spreading HIV if you have it. Having BV also makes you more susceptible to other STDs like Chlamydia, Herpes and Gonorrhea.
Protecting Your Health and Pregnancy
Regular STD testing, pelvic exams and pap smears are crucial for protecting your health and pregnancy. Diagnosing and treating BV and other infections can make the difference between fertility and infertility and a premature birth or full term normal birth.
Keeping on top of your health with regular checkups even when you feel fine is the only way to be sure that you are healthy before, during and after pregnancy. BV can affect women who are pregnant or not and sexually active or not, so don’t assume that it won’t happen to you.