Being pregnant brings a lot of emotions and one of them is joy, the joy of being able to conceive a human being inside your womb, however, there are around 10-30% of women who are pregnant who get infected with bacterial vaginosis during their first trimester pregnancy. This type of infection cannot be easily avoided.
Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the bacteria in the vaginal ecosystem. It is not considered as a sexually transmitted disease but women who practice sexual intercourse without protection are considered a high risk. Symptoms can be experienced but not in every case, diagnosis is important to rule out other causes of vaginal infection. More than 50% of the women who contract BV exhibit no symptoms in the genital tract but when screened for BV the results turn out positive.
Bacterial Vaginosis is not an infection that causes panic when it comes to women who are pregnant. Bacterial Vaginosis in pregnant women is common and may cause complications during her pregnancy. This article will tackle what happens when a woman gets BV During Pregnancy First Trimester.
There are other risk factors that can be caused by BV during a woman’s first trimester pregnancy.
What is a miscarriage? Miscarriage is the term used for pregnancy loss during the first 20 weeks of woman’s pregnancy. It is also called spontaneous abortion. Approximately 10-20% of pregnancy has ended in a miscarriage and usually, around 80% of these miscarriages happen before the 12th week of pregnancy. The first trimester is the most crucial part of a woman’s pregnancy.
There are instances that a woman loses a fertilised egg before pregnancy officially occurs. There are studies that have been conducted that around 30-50% of women with fertilised eggs can be lost or not able to undergo the process of implantation in the uterine walls and it also goes to the process of having a menstrual period instead of getting pregnant.
What are the signs of a miscarriage?
By being able to see and spot these signs you can prevent a miscarriage from occurring. You must immediately call your medical care provider so he or she can help you with the problem that you are currently facing and it must be done immediately. If you experience these signs, this is considered a life-threatening emergency and you must go to the hospital as soon as possible!
- Bleeding or spotting of blood – Vaginal bleeding and spotting can be considered as the first sign of a miscarriage. There are pregnant women who experience vaginal bleeding and spotting during their first-trimester pregnancy but they do not end up in a miscarriage.
- Pain in the abdomen – Abdominal pain usually comes after you experience bleeding. You may experience cramps and it can be persistent, sharp or dull pain and you may also experience pain in the lower back or in the pelvic area.
It is important that you notify your medical care provider so you know the necessary steps that need to be taken. These symptoms must not be ignored. There is a possibility that when there is pain and bleeding, the chances of the pregnancy to continue can be lower.
There are also instances that bleeding and pain can also be symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that occurs when the fertilised egg implants itself outside the uterine wall and it usually occurs in the Fallopian tube.
Miscarriages are often suspected during the first prenatal visit once a woman learns or suspects that she is pregnant. When the medical care provider is not able to hear the heartbeat or when the uterus is not normally growing as it should be. There are times when an embryo or fetus inside the womb does not continue to develop a few weeks before there are symptoms of abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding.
If the medical care provider suspects that there is a miscarriage, he or she will make sure to check the uterus by ordering ultrasound so it can help with the diagnosis. Laboratory tests can also be done such as blood test.
What are the causes of a miscarriage?
A miscarriage can occur between 50-70% of first trimester pregnancies and sometimes there are different factors that can cause it to happen. A miscarriage can be caused by problems in the chromosomes and in the result; the fertilised egg will not be able to continue to develop normally.
A miscarriage can also happen because there are external factors that can affect the delicate process of pregnancy in the early stages. This can include problems in the uterine implantation or the embryo had defects and is not being able to properly develop.
An infection in the genital tract can also be a factor that can cause miscarriages in some women. This brings up BV; Bacterial Vaginosis usually occurs if there is a sudden difference in the bacterial population in the vaginal ecosystem. This allows the “good” bacteria Lactobacilli to have a significant decrease and the increase in the proliferation of bad bacteria in the vagina. When this occurs, bacterial vaginosis can happen.
What are the factors that put you at a higher risk for miscarriage?
There are several factors that can cause a woman to experience a miscarriage and one of them is having an infection.
Studies have shown that a pregnant woman has a higher risk for miscarriage if she has an infection in the reproductive system. Bacterial Vaginosis is usually found in the vagina but the bacteria can also travel to other parts of the reproductive system and can predispose a woman to have a miscarriage.
One other complication for having BV during the first trimester of pregnancy is Intra Amniotic infection.
What is Intra Amniotic infection?
Intra Amniotic is the infection of the amnion, chorion, amniotic fluid and placenta. It usually occurs when the pregnant woman gets infected and the bacteria are able to invade the amniotic cavity. Women with intraamniotic infection are predisposed to possible preterm labour and this usually occurs during early gestational ages.
The infection increases the risks for complications for the pregnant woman and her baby.
Symptoms of Intra-Amniotic Infection
- Tenderness of the uterus
- Amniotic fluid has a foul odour
- Pus in the cervix
- An increase in the pulse rate of the pregnant woman and her fetus
Diagnosis is usually done by different criteria and by doing an analysis of the amniotic fluid. Treatment includes antibiotics, antipyretics, and delivery.
What are the possible complications if Intra-Amniotic Infection is not treated early?
Complications for the fetus:
- Preterm or premature delivery
- Infection of the baby
- Cerebral palsy as it affects the proper development of the baby inside the womb
- Neonatal Death
Complications for the pregnant woman:
- Bacteremia – or also known as septicemia, it is the term if there is the presence of bacteria in the blood.
- Uterine Atony – the uterus fails to contract after the delivery of the baby
- Haemorrhage after delivery
- Infection and abscess in the pelvic area
- Thromboembolism – obstruction of the blood vessel by a blood clot
- Uterine complications after delivery
- Abruptio placentae – The premature separation of the placenta from the uterus. It also comes with symptoms like bleeding, contractions of the uterus and distress of the unborn baby.
What are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Foul smelling discharge (fishy odour), usually thin greyish in colour
- The external part of the vagina is itchy
- Painful vagina especially after sexual intercourse or during urination
How do you Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis can be prevented by doing the following:
- Safe-sex practices, using condoms and avoiding multiple sex partners
- Proper hygiene
- Avoiding vaginal douching and using scented feminine wipes
The following complications mentioned above can be avoided if the pregnant woman is diagnosed early and be advised by the medical care provider with the proper treatment. Bacterial vaginosis is usually diagnosed by performing a physical exam and laboratory tests using vaginal culture, the doctor will insert a swab and collect cervical discharge and check it under a microscope.
Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis
Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis during the first trimester are usually advised by their medical care provider to undergo treatment in the second trimester. Sometimes this type of infection goes away on its own. It is highly recommended for you to use home remedies that are safe for a pregnant woman to use when she has BV. One of them is taking probiotics such as yogurt. Eating yogurt daily can help fight the bacteria and infection in the vaginal ecosystem and this also helps restore the number of lactobacillus in the vagina.
When a woman is pregnant there is a higher chance for her to have vaginal infections because of the increased hormones during pregnancy. Bacterial vaginosis is usually diagnosed by a simple swab of the vaginal discharge. Bacterial vaginosis if not treated will lead to different complications and can increase the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
There are different complications that can arise if a pregnant woman gets BV during the first trimester of her pregnancy. Miscarriage occurs during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. One cause of miscarriage is infection. The bacteria in the vagina invade the fertilised egg and prevent the proper development of the embryo and this can lead to the absence of fetal heartbeat and can cause vaginal bleeding and spotting and presence of abdominal pain.
Intra amniotic infection can also occur when the bacteria invade the amnion, chorion, and placenta and this can affect the development process of pregnancy and this can also cause other problems like premature or preterm delivery.
If you are a pregnant woman in your first trimester, make sure to consult your medical care provider and if you experience BV symptoms like thin-greyish white vaginal discharge that has a foul odour and itchy and painful vagina, make sure to consult your health care provider so you will know what needs to be done to prevent possible complications to you and your baby.