Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy: 8 Causes and Symptoms 

Gytree Team
Updated On
New Update
Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy: 8 Causes and Symptoms 

Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy is a common concern that requires attention for the well-being of both the mother and the baby. Here's a comprehensive guide to understanding BV during pregnancy. Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by an imbalance in the normal bacteria present in the vagina. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can contribute to an increased risk of BV.

Causes and Risk Factors of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy:

1. Imbalance in Vaginal Bacteria: Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy occurs when there's an imbalance in the normal bacteria that reside in the vagina. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can disrupt this balance, creating an environment conducive to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

2. Hormonal Changes: Pregnancy brings about significant hormonal fluctuations, including increased estrogen levels. These hormonal shifts can impact the acidity of the vagina, making it more vulnerable to infections like BV.


3. Sexual Activity: Engaging in sexual activities, especially with new or multiple partners, is a recognized risk factor for BV. The exchange of bacteria during sex can contribute to the disruption of the vaginal flora.

4. Douching: Douching, or the practice of cleaning the vagina with water or other solutions, disrupts the natural pH balance and healthy bacteria in the vagina. Pregnant individuals are often advised to avoid douching.

Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy: 8 Causes and Symptoms 

5. Smoking: Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for BV. The chemicals in tobacco may impact the balance of bacteria in the vagina, increasing susceptibility to infections.

6. Antibiotic Use: Prior or frequent use of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina, potentially leading to Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. It's essential to use antibiotics as prescribed by healthcare providers.

7. Intrauterine Device (IUD): Women using intrauterine devices for contraception may have a slightly elevated risk of developing BV. Regular check-ups and proper IUD maintenance can help minimize this risk.


8. Vaginal Douching Products: The use of scented soaps, bubble baths, and other harsh vaginal hygiene products can irritate the vagina and disturb its natural flora, contributing to the development of BV.

9. Multiple Pregnancies: Women carrying multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc.) may be at a higher risk of developing BV. The increased hormonal changes associated with multiple pregnancies can impact the vaginal environment.

10. Immunodeficiency: Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or certain immunosuppressive medications, can increase the risk of Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. A robust immune system is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance of vaginal bacteria.

11. Stress: While the direct link is not fully understood, chronic stress may contribute to changes in the vaginal microbiome, potentially increasing the risk of BV.

Understanding these causes and risk factors is crucial for pregnant individuals and healthcare providers to implement preventive measures and prompt interventions. Maintaining good vaginal hygiene, avoiding douching, and attending regular prenatal check-ups contribute to a healthier vaginal environment during pregnancy.

Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy: 8 Causes and Symptoms 

Symptoms and Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy:

  1. Vaginal Discharge: A common symptom of BV is an unusual vaginal discharge. Pregnant individuals with BV may notice a thin, greyish-white discharge with a distinct fishy odour.
  2. Odour Changes: Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy often presents with a characteristic fishy odour, especially after sexual intercourse. This odour is caused by the overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina.
  3. Itching or Irritation: Some pregnant individuals with BV may experience itching or irritation in the vaginal area. This discomfort can contribute to a sense of overall vaginal unease.
  4. Burning Sensation: A burning sensation, particularly during urination, might occur in individuals with BV. This symptom is associated with the irritation caused by the imbalanced vaginal flora.
  5. Increased Discomfort After Intercourse: Sexual activity can exacerbate the symptoms of BV. Pregnant women may notice an increase in discomfort, odour, or discharge following sexual intercourse.
  6. Pain or Discomfort: BV can sometimes cause pain or discomfort in the genital area. This discomfort may be mild or more pronounced, depending on individual factors.
  7. Redness or Swelling: In some cases, redness or swelling of the vulva or vaginal tissues may occur. This can contribute to a general feeling of inflammation in the genital region.
  8. No Symptoms: Importantly, not every individual with BV will experience noticeable symptoms. Some pregnant women may have BV without any apparent signs, making regular prenatal check-ups crucial for early detection.

Pregnant individuals need to be vigilant about any changes in vaginal discharge, odour, or discomfort and promptly communicate these observations to their healthcare providers. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy are essential to reduce the risk of complications and ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Potential Complications: BV during pregnancy is associated with certain complications. It may increase the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and the possibility of amniotic fluid infection. While BV itself may not directly impact the mode of delivery, it's crucial to manage the infection to reduce the risk of complications.

Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy: 8 Causes and Symptoms 


A healthcare provider diagnoses BV through a pelvic examination and may conduct additional tests, such as a pH test or a microscopic examination of the vaginal discharge.

Treatment Options:

Treating Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy is essential during pregnancy to reduce the risk of complications. Antibiotics like metronidazole or clindamycin are commonly prescribed, but it's crucial to complete the entire course as directed.

Preventive Measures:

Taking proactive steps to prevent BV is crucial. This includes avoiding douching, using unscented products for intimate hygiene, and practising safe sex.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in educating pregnant individuals about BV, its implications, and preventive measures. Knowledge empowers expectant mothers to make informed decisions. Emphasizing good hygiene practices and self-care, such as wearing cotton underwear and avoiding irritating products, can contribute to preventing BV.

In summary, bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy requires vigilant attention and prompt treatment. By being proactive in preventive measures and seeking timely medical advice, pregnant individuals can manage BV effectively, ensuring a healthier pregnancy journey. Consult our Gytree experts if you seem to be experiencing similar complaints. 

Pregnancy Bacterial vaginosis