Disclosure: collaborative post
For a pregnant woman, each and every day of the nine-month gestation is filled with various kinds of health and fitness concerns. We all hope for a smooth and obstacle-free pregnancy, but the truth is that most women will experience a few different issues along the way, not all serious, and nearly all completely solvable. One such issue that might not immediately come to mind is bacterial vaginosis, or BV for short. To give expectant mothers a little more insight, here is some information about the link between bacterial vaginosis and pregnancy.
What is bacterial vaginosis?
In simple terms, BV is an infection that occurs when there is too much of a certain type of bacteria in the vagina. It is a very common vaginal infection, with nearly 30% of US women aged between 14 and 49 being infected.
Something important to note is that bacterial vaginosis is in no way sexually transmitted, but there is evidence that shows that sexually active women are much more likely to develop this bacterial imbalance.
The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include a thin grey or white vaginal discharge, a strong fishy odour (especially after sex), pain and itching in and around the vaginal area, and a burning sensation when urinating. You may not get all of these symptoms.
How does bacterial vaginosis affect pregnancy?
Recent studies on the subject have suggested up to one million pregnant women develop BV every year. Expectant mothers are much more likely to get the infection due to the massive hormonal changes that are occurring within their bodies. Some of the most significant complications that can be caused by bacterial vaginosis for a pregnant woman include:
● Premature Birth
Any birth that occurs before the 37-week mark is classed as premature. This is a more common situation for pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis because the infection causes an inflammatory problem within the pelvis, and this inflammation can encourage an early labour that isn’t ideal for mother or child.
● Low Birthweight
Closely linked to the matter of premature birth is the fact that a baby will then be born with a low birth weight. This is classed by the World Health Organization as when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Of course, being born at such a small size can cause a number of health problems that need to be closely monitored in the early stages of life.
Is there a treatment for bacterial vaginosis?
The condition is traditionally treated with a course of antibiotics. No invasive procedures or treatments are required.
The most common and widely used medication prescribed for eradicating bacterial vaginosis is metronidazole tablets, but some gels can be an effective alternative.
All that you need to do to get this treatment is to make an appointment with your local doctor.
How do you reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis?
Some of the best things that you can do in order to protect yourself include:
● Limit the Number of Sexual Partners
People who are not sexually active at all have the lowest risk of developing bacterial vaginosis, so it makes sense that the fewer sexual partners you have, the lower your chances of getting it are. A lifestyle in which you have a single partner is preferable for protection against the condition.
● Do Not Douche
Studies have found a link between bacterial vaginosis and women who practice douching. Therefore, it is not recommended for women to perform any kind of douching procedure on themselves. This can actually remove a lot of the ‘normal’ and healthy bacteria in the vagina that works to protect it from different types of infection.
● Warm Water Washing
You should only use warm water in the shower or bath to wash inside your private parts. Don’t be tempted to use any soaps or scented products, because their active ingredients can cause an imbalance in your natural bacteria.
If you notice any of the symptoms, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor or gynaecologist as soon as possible.