BV in pregnancy

Having bacterial vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy is bad news for your baby, as it is associated with preterm delivery.

This means your bun does not stay in the oven quite as long as it should, missing out on the valuable nutrients your body affords the baby in the late stages of pregnancy. Babies usually survive when born prematurely, however they will need extra support for a while.

The last trimester of pregnancy puts the final touches on the baby, such as fattening up, hearing, and brain development.

These things will still happen outside the womb, so although having a premature baby is common, BV increases your risks. It is better to treat your BV and keep your mucous ‘plug’ intact to keep the baby put.

BV and preterm birth and premature rupture of membranes

One study looked at the prevalence of BV in asymptomatic pregnant women, and how it affected preterm births and rupturing of membranes.

The authors studied over a thousand pregnant women between 16 and 28 weeks’ gestation, with results clearly showing the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes was higher in the BV group. BV was determined to pose a very real risk. The mechanisms are not well understood, but research continues.

Antibiotics don’t stop preterm delivery in women with BV

Another study (Carey & Klebanoff et al, 2000) showed that asymptomatic BV treatment with antibiotics did not reduce preterm and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. This may be because antibiotics do not completely resolve the infection in many cases.

There is a multitude of studies that show the same findings: BV can cause preterm birth.

Some Killing BV treatments are safe to use during pregnancy.


  • Purwar & Ughade et al, August 27, 2001, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research, ‘Bacterial vaginosis in early pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcome’
  • Carey et al, The New England Journal of Medicine, ‘Metronidazole to prevent preterm delivery in pregnant women with asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis’,  342:534-540, February 24, 2000

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)