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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 5, Issue 6, Pages 361-365
Clinical Study

Evaluation of Specific Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis Among Pregnant Women

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital of Skaraborg Skövde, Skövde S-541 85, Sweden
2Perinatal Epidemiological Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Received 9 November 1997; Accepted 11 February 1998

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: Identification of the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in pregnancy might be rational in order to identify a possible BV-associated group at risk of preterm delivery.

Methods: Three hundred and five women early in the third trimester of pregnancy were interviewed about lifestyle factors and specific symptoms of BV and given a vaginal examination. A longitudinal three-week follow-up was conducted for 127 women.

Results: The prevalence of BV was 16%. Women with BV were significantly more often smokers than women without BV (52% vs. 34%). No difference in sexual activity or other behavioral characteristics between the two groups were seen. No differences were noted among women with and without BV according to specific symptoms: malodorous discharge (26% vs. 23%), increased discharge (76% vs. 68%), or itching or troublesome discharge. More than one third of women with BV at the first examination did not fulfill the criteria for BV at the three week follow-up exam. None of the women without BV had developed BV by the follow-up exam. The incidence of preterm delivery among women with BV was 4%, women without BV had an incidence of 2.4%. This difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Asymptomatic BV in pregnancy is common. Specific questions about the character of the discharge do not identify women with BV during pregnancy. To identify a potential BV-associated group at risk for preterm delivery, screening for BV must be conducted not only among symptomatic women but among all women. Women with BV are more often smokers than women without BV.