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Does vaginitis affect a pregnant woman & her infant?

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Some types of vaginitis can cause problems during pregnancy.

Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) are more likely to go into labor and give birth too early (preterm). Preterm infants may face a number of health challenges, including low birth weight and breathing problems. However, treating BV in women who are pregnant has not been consistently found to reduce rates of preterm birth. For this reason, most pregnant women without symptoms are not screened for BV. Some experts recommend screening pregnant women who have had a preterm infant before, whether or not they have symptoms.1 NICHD scientists are trying to clarify the link between BV and pregnancy problems to help prevent them.

Sexually transmitted types of vaginitis can be very harmful to a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Trichomoniasis can cause preterm labor and preterm birth. Some sexually transmitted infections can be passed from a mother to her infant before, during, or after birth. A pregnant woman should tell her doctor about symptoms of vaginitis. She also should get routine prenatal care, including screening tests for sexually transmitted infections.2

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from [top]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). STDs & pregnancy—CDC fact sheet. Retrieved March 28, 2012, from [top]

Last Reviewed: 05/21/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology