Bacterial Vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection for women. The vagina normally has both bad and good bacteria but the good bacteria is significantly more which helps normalise the vaginal ecosystem. Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when there is a significant decrease in the number of Lactobacilli in the vagina.
1 in 5 pregnant women get BV and other infections during their pregnancy. It is a common infection and it can cause complications and risks to the baby if not treated as soon as possible. During pregnancy, pregnant women may worry more about contracting infections and how they might affect the developing baby.
When a woman is pregnant, there are instances that occur during the pregnancy that makes her worry about the infections that she can get and how they affect the baby inside the womb and its development. Pregnant women can also contract BV. What happens when a woman gets BV during Pregnancy Second Trimester? Will it affect the baby? What are the dangers that come with it?
This is the inflammation of the uterine lining which is caused by an infection. The infection is caused by two or three bacteria in the genital tract. It is not a life-threatening infection but it must be treated once diagnosed. It can be treated with medication and antibiotics as prescribed by your medical care provider.
When infections are not treated, it can lead to complications with the other reproductive organs, it can also cause problems with fertility. Risk and complications can be prevented, consult your doctor if you experience different symptoms.
Post Cesarean Endometritis
An inflammation of the uterus when there is an infection after she gives birth via cesarean section.
Cause of Endometritis
The infection in the uterus can cause endometritis and one of them is the infection from the mixture of normal vaginal bacteria. Since all women have bacteria in the vaginal ecosystem, endometritis can happen when a woman has BV and it usually occurs when the number of bacteria changes.
Symptoms of Endometritis
The following symptoms will start to show up if this problem is left untreated.
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Increased vaginal bleeding
- An increased amount of discharge of the vagina
- Difficulty during the bowel movement
- General malaise
- Pain in the pelvic area, rectum, and lower abdomen
How to diagnose Endometritis?
- Culture samples – to check the cervix and the bacteria that cause infection
- Endometrial biopsy – A small amount of tissue from the uterine lining
- Laparoscopy – This procedure allows the doctor to check the inside part of the abdomen and pelvis and check the discharge under the microscope to determine the cause of the infection.
Complications of Endometritis
When endometritis is not treated, complications may arise from it.
- Difficulty getting pregnant or infertility
- Pelvic infection
- Pus in the pelvic area and uterus
- Septicemia – this happens when there is a presence of bacteria in the blood
- Septic Shock – When the infection in the blood leads to other complications that cause very low blood pressure
Chorioamnionitis is an infection caused by bacteria that can occur during or before a pregnant woman’s labour. Chorion and amnion (the outer and fluid-filled sac) are the membranes that keep the fetus inside the womb safe.
Chorioamnionitis happens when the bacteria infect the chorion, amnion, and amniotic fluid that surround the fetus inside the womb. When this infection occurs it can lead to complications and cause preterm labour or birth, and the infection can cause risks to the mother and the baby. Preterm births are common and it occurs in 2-4 percent of full-term deliveries.
What causes Chorioamnionitis?
This infection occurs when the bacteria in the vagina infect the uterus where the fetus is located. Anaerobic bacteria which causes BV also causes chorioamnionitis in pregnant women. The amniotic fluid and placenta and even the fetus inside can become infected.
What are the symptoms of Chorioamnionitis?
Some women may experience the following symptoms however, not everyone can experience them:
- Increased pulse rate
- Tenderness of the uterine wall
- Different coloured amniotic fluid with a foul odour
What are the possible complications that can arise from Chorioamnionitis?
When a pregnant woman contracts Chorioamnionitis, it is considered a life-threatening, medical emergency and it can cause serious complications:
- Bacteremia – Bacteria in the blood
- Endometritis – Infection in the uterine lining
- Possibility for cesarean delivery to prevent more complications to the fetus
- Increased blood loss during delivery
- An increased risk for blood clots in the lungs and pelvis
- Usually, about 3-12% of pregnant women with chorioamnionitis can have bacteremia.
Pregnant women who undergo cesarean delivery, 8% of them can have wound infection and there is a great risk of getting a pelvic abscess. Maternal or fetal death caused by the infection can also happen.
Babies with mothers who have chorioamnionitis can experience serious complications. Here are the following:
- Babies are prone to have meningitis. This is the infection of the spinal cord and the brain and is a life-threatening condition which can happen to 1% population of infants that are delivered as full-term babies.
- Pneumonia may develop to approximately 5-10% of babies. Bacteremia can also happen but it is more common to babies that are delivered preterm or premature.
- There are rare cases where preterm infants can also experience other complications that can be life-threatening. When the infection is detected earlier and prescribed medications are given to the pregnant woman.
How is Chorioamnionitis diagnosed?
The medical care provider can diagnose the condition by doing a physical exam and tests to confirm the diagnosis. There are times that Amniocentesis is done when the pregnant woman is having preterm labour. A small amount of amniotic fluid is required to diagnose it properly. Chorioamnionitis can happen if the amniotic fluid has a small amount of glucose but a very high amount of White Blood Cells and bacteria.
How can Chorioamnionitis be prevented?
Infection can be prevented and it can be done in several ways one of which is to Screen the pregnant woman for bacterial vaginosis during the second trimester of pregnancy
How do maternal infections affect the baby?
A lot of infections can occur during a woman’s pregnancy. When she gets an infection it can also affect the development process of the baby. It is not easy to tell for the medical care providers to which extent the baby inside the womb has been affected.
A pregnant mother who gets an infection can also affect the baby:
- The infection can harm the mother and it can affect the body and she will not be able to nurture the baby and the use of medications may have side effects that can harm the fetus inside the womb.
- The infection can harm the baby and cause changes and it may result in the baby’s birth defects.
- The infection can cause premature birth, low birth weight, or miscarriage. When a pregnant woman contracts BV, this can also cause premature labor.
- There are infections that affect the proper development of the baby inside the womb and it can also affect the overall health of the pregnant women, and it also affects the woman when the infection develops and causes risks and complications and whether the pregnant woman also received medical treatment.
When a pregnant woman gets BV during her second-trimester pregnancy she should get treated as it will help protect the baby.
What are the common symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
If a pregnant woman gets BV she must check the following symptoms so she can be immediately treated:
- Thin whitish, grey discharge in the vagina
- Fishy unpleasant smell, more prominent after having sex
- Painful and itchy vagina
- Burning sensation after having intercourse or when urinating
How can you prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Healthy Diet – the immunity must be improved by having a healthy and nutritious diet. BV can be prevented from happening or recurring again after the pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, the diet must consist of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and essential amino acids. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent infections and keep the pregnant woman healthy and have a comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy.
- Proper hygiene – Wiping from front to back to prevent contamination of the vagina.
- Wear cotton underwear – Avoiding spandex underwear that traps moisture and becomes a breeding ground of different types of bacteria.
- Practice safe sex – Use condoms and avoid multiple sex partners.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed?
Bacterial Vaginosis can be diagnosed by doing a physical exam, laboratory tests and checking the pH and doing a whiff test. The whiff test is done by mixing the vaginal discharge with hydrogen peroxide.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis Treated?
When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with BV, she must immediately be prescribed with medications, antibiotics to prevent the infection to cause complications:
- Tinidazole – Tindamax – This medication is taken via the mouth or oral administration
- Metronidazole – Flagyl and Metrogel-Vaginal – These medications are taken via the mouth or oral administration
- Clindamycin – Cleocin and Clindesse – Topical Medications that are safe to insert in the vaginal canal
When a pregnant woman in her second trimester gets BV and not treated accordingly there are complications like Endometritis, Chorioamnionitis that can occur. Endometritis and Chorioamnionitis can happen and this can put the baby and the mother at risk with life-threatening conditions. Prevent BV from happening by having a healthy and proper diet and observing proper hygiene. BV can be treated by using antibiotics as prescribed by the medical care provider and by using natural home remedies.
When a pregnant woman gets BV during her second-trimester pregnancy, there is a possibility that other complications can also arise from an infection in the vagina. Once diagnosed by the medical care provider, BV must be treated with antibiotics. The pregnant woman must not stop taking medication once the symptoms have started to clear up. It is imperative to complete all the medicine dosage otherwise the bacteria will develop resistance to antibiotics.