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Logo of infectdisobgynInfectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2003; 11(2): 123–129.
PMCID: PMC1852276

The Effect of Treating Bacterial Vaginosis on Preterm Labor


Objective: Multiple studies suggest that bacterial vaginosis (BV) causes preterm labor; yet its routine treatment remains controversial. In order to help to elucidate this controversy, we performed a thorough review of studies with levels of evidence ranging from I to II–II.

Methods: We searched for all of the studies from the years 1994 to 2001 via Medline’s database, including MD Consult and Ovid Mednet.

Results: Several trials discovered a decrease in the incidence of preterm labor when BV was treated, but most of those trials were performed on women with a history of preterm labor. However, the majority of trials reviewed advise against treatment of a general low-risk obstetric population, as there was no significant decrease in preterm labor.

Conclusions: Therefore, based on the above studies and the current guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treating pregnant women in high-risk populations who are diagnosed with BV provides the clinician with an opportunity to possibly prevent preterm labor in this population. In nulliparous women without a history of preterm birth, treatment is recommended if other risk factors are present (e.g. gonorrhea or chlamydia). However, in the general low-risk populations, routine screening is not indicated.

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