Getting pregnant is one of the greatest life-changing events in a woman’s life. The first few weeks of the woman’s pregnancy is the most crucial time because it will greatly affect whether the pregnancy will continue and the fetus will develop properly or it will end up in a miscarriage.
When a woman is pregnant she can’t help but feel afraid and be concerned about having a miscarriage that’s why it is common for medical care professionals to advise bed rest to pregnant women if she is at risk for a possible miscarriage.
Bacterial Vaginosis is the most common infection for women in her child-bearing years, yes that is correct; it is even more common than yeast infection. In fact, approximately 10-30% of pregnant women can have BV while they are pregnant. Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when there is disruption of the normal vaginal ecosystem.
The vagina normally has both good and bad bacteria and there is a balance between the two with the good bacteria in charge of preventing the bad bacteria from proliferating and causing infection.
Is there a connection between BV and Miscarriage? In this article, we will show you if there is a real and clear connection between BV and Miscarriage. Studies have been done and it shows that there is a relationship between a pregnant woman having BV and second-trimester miscarriage.
What Is Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of the baby inside the womb before the woman reaches the 20th week of her pregnancy. There are one in five confirmed pregnancy cases that end up in miscarriage before reaching 20 weeks of pregnancy. there are even instances where woman miscarry without even knowing they are pregnant.
What Are The Signs Of Miscarriage?
- Mild cramps that can become severe
- Pain in the abdomen and back
- Bleeding or spotting
- Whitish pink mucus
- Passing of clots or tissue
- The absence of pregnancy symptoms like nausea or vomiting
How To Prevent A Miscarriage?
A pregnant woman can prevent a miscarriage from happening by living a healthy life – No alcohol, no smoking, and no caffeine, but even if you take such precautions there is no guarantee that it will stop a miscarriage from happening.
Can You Stop A Miscarriage From Happening?
If a pregnant woman experiences signs and symptoms of a miscarriage, she must immediately inform or call her midwife or doctor to prevent any possible complications like haemorrhaging or infection.
A miscarriage has a lot of risk factors and having an infection during her pregnancy is one of them:
Infections – When a woman is pregnant, due to the changes in her body and the increase of hormones there are incidents that makes her prone to having infections. If this happens and it is not treated accordingly, it puts her and her unborn baby at risk and even experience complications because of it.
Bacteria in the vagina can also move upwards and even infect the other reproductive organs. Infection can cause the normal growth of the embryo to be affected and this can cause miscarriage.
What Are The Types Of Miscarriage?
- Threatened Miscarriage – When this occurs, the cervix remains closed. There is bleeding and it results in implantation. When bleeding occurs, there is a presence of cramps and pain in the lower back.
- Incomplete Miscarriage – This is a type of miscarriage where there is bleeding and cramps and the miscarriage is incomplete. There is abdominal pain and lower back pain accompanied by the opening of the cervix. Miscarriage cannot be prevented when there is an opening and dilation of the cervix and it can also be accompanied by rupture of membranes. Bleeding and cramps can still occur even if the miscarriage is not complete.
- Missed Miscarriage – Pregnant women can also experience a miscarriage without knowing they have got pregnant. This is the type of pregnancy that occurs when embryonic death happens and there is no expulsion of the embryo. Signs of this miscarriage would include the absence of the fetus heartbeat and loss of pregnancy symptoms.
- Complete Miscarriage – This type of miscarriage happens when the embryo and the other tissues or products of conception is removed on its own from the uterus. Pain, cramps, and bleeding will also subside once the expulsion is done. This type of miscarriage can be confirmed by performing dilatation, curettage and ultrasound.
What Is The Connection Between Bacterial Vaginosis And Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is a term used when a pregnancy ends within the first 20 weeks. It is the most common type of pregnancy loss, studies carried out have shown that 10-25% of pregnancies can end in a miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies usually account 50-75% of miscarriages.
When a pregnancy is lost after the failure of implantation of the fertilised egg, there is bleeding that comes during the expected period of menstruation. A woman who experiences a chemical pregnancy may not even realise that she is pregnant. Bacterial Vaginosis can happen to anyone, especially to pregnant women.
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the number of bacteria in the vaginal ecosystem. The good bacteria Lactobacilli is the one in charge of keeping the vaginal pH slightly acidic and keeping the anaerobes always in check. If there is a significant change in the number of good bacteria, this will allow the bad bacteria to multiply and proliferate and therefore, causing infection, i.e Bacterial Vaginosis.
Bacterial Vaginosis Can Be Prevented By Doing The Following:
- Limit sex partners
- Use condoms when having sexual intercourse
- Do not douche
- Practice proper hygiene – Wipe from front to back when cleaning the genital area
- Avoid using IUDs to prevent BV from recurring
- Use warm water to clean the vagina, avoid using soaps
Bacterial Vaginosis Is Caused By Different Factors And Here Are Some Of Them:
- Vaginal Douching and using scented feminine products – This can alter the vaginal pH
- Unprotected Sexual Intercourse
- Multiple Sex partners
- New Sex Partner
- Immune system problems
- Using vaginal sprays
How Is BV diagnosed?
Bacterial Vaginosis is diagnosed by testing vaginal discharge using the following methods:
- Wet mount (Microscopic slide test)
- Vaginal pH of more than 4.5
- KOH slide
- Whiff test – using hydrogen peroxide with vaginal discharge, this mixture produces strong and unpleasant fishy odour
There are studies done that indicate that there is a link between BV and miscarriage and premature or preterm labour.
If a pregnant woman has BV she must do the following:
- Take all the medicine as prescribed by the doctor. Complete all the dosage even if there are no signs or symptoms left.
- Do not have sex after finishing the medical treatment
- If the signs and symptoms are still present after finishing the treatment, the medical care provider must be informed.
What Are The Possible Complications That May Arise From Untreated BV:
- Complications in the pregnancy – A pregnant woman with BV has a higher risk of premature delivery, low birth weight baby, and miscarriage
- Sexually transmitted infections – When a woman has BV, it increases the risk of getting STIs such as herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, AIDS, and HIV.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – When a woman has BV, it may also infect other reproductive organs such as ovaries, fallopian tube, cervix, and uterus. When a woman gets this infection, she is prone to have infertility and problems conceiving.
- Other infections – Having BV gives a woman a higher risk to acquire other infections after having surgeries that involve the reproductive system such as Hysterectomies, abortions, dilatation and curettage, and delivery via cesarean section.
Treatment For BV
When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with Bacterial Vaginosis, she can be prescribed with antibiotics:
- Metronidazole – Flagyl and Metrogel- Vaginal – oral medication
- Tinidazole – Tindamax – oral medication
- Clindamycin – Cleocin and Clindesse – Topical medication which can be inserted in the vagina as prescribed by the doctor
There have been studies that have shown that there is a connection between having infections like Bacterial Vaginosis during a woman’s pregnancy and the occurrence of second-trimester miscarriage. It is important for the pregnant woman to do whatever it takes to keep the baby inside her womb safe from possible complications.
Even with the best prevention methods, bacterial vaginosis can still occur. If it happens, it is important for the pregnant woman to consult her medical care provider so she will know what the necessary things that can be done and which treatment will be prescribed for her. Home remedies like probiotics can also help resolve the infection if used regularly.
If a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with BV but there is no symptoms, she will not be prescribed with treatment as it usually goes away because the immune system is able to fight the infection off. She must have a proper diet, avoid stress, observe proper hygiene and avoid possible factors that can cause the infection to proliferate.
If a pregnant woman experiences the different symptoms of BV, she will have to contact her medical care provider so that she can be prescribed with the full medical treatment and she must complete the dosage even when the symptoms have already subsided, this will prevent the infection from recurring or worse make the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic treatment. If the symptoms are worse, sometimes the treatment will be prescribed for a longer time, it all depends on case to case basis.