Bacterial vaginosis: What mums-to-be need to know about this pregnancy infection
Can vaginal pregnancy infections like bacterial vaginosis lead to pregnancy complications? Find out the answer, here!
Though it has been found to be the most common type of pregnancy infection, mums-to-be still need to be aware of how Bacterial Vaginosis can affect pregnancy.
A woman's vagina has natural "good bacteria" (lactobacilli) and a few "bad bacteria" (anaerobes), which exist in harmony. But once this balance is disrupted, and the bad bacteria multiplies, it results in infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis.
Aside from being the most common vaginal infection during pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis is also the most common infection in women aged 15 to 44.
About half of women affected by this infection show no symptoms. But others experience itching, odour, burning or pain. Once detected, doctors usually recommend antibiotics or oral/topical medication. Those who don't undergo any treatment are at risk for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy complications, like pre-term labor or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, clarifies Jeanne Faulkner, R.N. in an article for Fit Pregnancy, but it is commonly seen in women who've recently changed sexual partners.
Why are pregnant women are more prone to developing bacterial vaginosis?
About 10 to 30% of pregnant women will be infected at least once. This is because many changes are occurring in a woman's body, including her vagina's natural PH and flora.
Though doctors don't normally screen for BV during the pre-natal period, it's important to know that it is still a concern. Though rare, there have been cases of the infection travelling from the vagina to the cervix, fallopian tubes, and uterus. This results in a painful condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. If this causes scarring or blockage, it could lead to ectopic pregnancy or infertility. So it's important to treat it before it spreads.
Other rare pregnancy-related complications that pregnant women with this infection should be aware of are premature labour, late miscarriage and premature rupture of membranes (amniotic sac).
How to prevent bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy
Womenshealth.gov offers the following measures to reduce your risk for developing this infection.
Keep your vaginal bacteria balanced
When washing the outside of your vagina, use warm water without soap, because even mild ones can cause irritation. Wipe from front to back and wear cotton underpants to keep the area cool and comfortable.
During douching, the normal bacteria that helps fight vaginal infection is washed away.
Though abstinence is still best to avoid the spread of bacterial vaginosis, practicing safe sex is also a good measure. Use condoms, birth control pills, implants or diaphragms.
Make sure you are tested for STDs
To avoid all types of infection and disease, make sure you and your partner are tested for STDs, so you can be able to detect infection as early as possible.
Always consult your OB/Gynecologist for proper guidance and to make sure you have a healthy and happy delivery.
*Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.