Is Bacterial Vaginosis A Concern During Pregnancy?

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During pregnancy, your body's immune system is weakened by hormonal changes that are occurring. Unfortunately, this leaves you more vulnerable to infections. Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common experienced infections. Due to the potential impact it can have on your pregnancy, it is important that you are aware of the symptoms and what you can do to safeguard your health.

What Are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is the result of an imbalance in bacteria. Your vagina is slightly acidic, which keeps harmful bacteria from growing. When you have bacterial vaginosis, the acid levels drop and the bacteria multiply.

Some pregnant women have this infection but do not realize it. It usually goes undetected until a vaginal swab is done by an OB/GYN. If there are symptoms, they can include burning sensation during urination, a white discharge with a fishy odor and irritation.

What Impact Can Bacterial Vaginosis Have on Your Pregnancy?

If detected and treated early, bacterial vaginosis will not have an impact on your pregnancy. However, since the infection usually goes unnoticed, there are the potential complications for some pregnant women.

There are several possible complications, including early labor and a baby with a low birth weight. Another possible complication is an infection of the womb that develops after you have given birth.

What Can You Do?

If you suspect that you have bacterial vaginosis, schedule an examination with your OB/GYN. He or she can perform the vaginal swab and determine if you do have the infection. If you do have it, your obstetric doctor will prescribe antibiotics to take for a short period of time to get rid of the infection. Remember to take all of the medication as prescribed by your OB/GYN.

In the future, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood that you will have bacterial vaginosis. For instance, wiping from front to back after using the bathroom helps to keep harmful bacteria out of your vaginal area. You also need to avoid douching. Douching helps to remove good bacteria that is needed for balance.

The risk of developing bacterial vaginosis is also decreased with abstinence. If you do have sex, limit the number of sexual partners you have.

Your OB/GYN can help determine if there are additional factors that could be putting you at risk for developing bacterial vaginosis. He or she can also identify other ways you can lower the risk of having the infection.