Pregnancy Bacterial Vaginosis: Medical and Natural Remedies

Bacterial vaginosis is a fairly common condition in pregnant women. The condition is caused by an imbalance of ‘good and bad bacteria’ in the vagina. While in an ideal condition, good bacteria outnumber bad bacteria, bacterial vaginosis occurs when the opposite happens so that harmful bacteria outnumber good bacteria. Most cases of BV clear after a few days, but some women may get a smelly white discharge. If you are pregnant and suspect that you have contracted BV, it helps to learn about the recommended bacterial vaginosis treatment in pregnancy.

How Will Bacterial Vaginosis Affect Your Pregnancy?

BV is a mild condition and usually expected to clear on its own. However, in some cases, BV can lead to more severe conditions and situations especially if you are pregnant. Pregnant women who suffer from BV have a greater risk of getting premature labor, preterm birth, recording a low-birth weight and preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM). The infection has also been linked to uterine infection after delivery and second-trimester miscarriage.

Bacterial vaginosis also increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and HIV. Your risk of contracting BV also increases when you have more than one sexual partner. BV has also been associated with infections after surgery and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

The link between BV and all the associated risks has not been established clearly. Most pregnant women have a normal pregnancy and carry their babies to term as the BV clears on its own.

Medical Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnancy

In the event that you test positive for BV, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic medication oral and others which can be inserted into the vagina, depending on the case.


Metronidazole is the most preferred bacterial vaginosis treatment in pregnancy. The medication is also ideal for women who are not pregnant. Studies indicate that half a gram of Metronidazole taken twice a day for seven days has over 95% cure rate for BV. Research also suggests that Metronidazole does not hold any negative effect on the unborn child even if the drug is prescribed during the first trimester.


Clindamycin is an oral antibiotic that has a successful cure rate of 94% when 300mg is taken twice daily for a week. However, reports indicate that clindamycin has some side effects such as nausea, stomach upset and throat irritation in some people. Other people report to have suffered from vomiting and diarrhea, while others have reported having developed a rash.

Topical Medications

Metronidazole is also prescribed as a topical treatment for bacterial vaginosis treatment in pregnancy. A 0.75% strength vaginal gel is prescribed for five days. This treatment is known to have up to 81% cure rate.  Clindamycin is prescribed in a 2% strength to be taken daily for five days. The medication achieves up to 96% cure rate.

Experts and pregnancy associations warn against exclusive topical treatment of BV as it only treats the surface while the bacteria in the upper area of the genitals are left unchecked. These may lead to preterm labor.

It is imperative that you be consistent with taking the medication to full course and finishing to the last tablet. When you stick to the prescription, chances are higher that the bacterial infection will be cured completely and chances of an infection recurring are slim. A small percentage of women get a recurring infection after three months.The main downside of taking antibiotics is that they kill both the good and bad bacteria.

Natural Treatments May Help Ease the Symptoms

Natural treatments can also be useful in bacterial vaginosis treatment during pregnancy. The following methods can greatly enhance the treatment of BV:

  • Plain yogurt will supply your body with the much needed good bacteria. Make sure that your yogurt contains ‘live culture’, also known as acidophilus. Avoid sweetened yogurt because sugar can aggravate the growth of yeast.
  • Cranberry juice contains antibacterial properties that are helpful in treating BV. When shopping for cranberry juice, go for 100% pure cranberry juice that does not include any added flavors
  • If the itching is intense and irritating for you, simply soak a tea bag in hot water for five minutes; then immediately put in the freezer until it is cool. Place this on the affected areas for relief.
  • You may consider taking a bacteria supplement known as Lactobacillus which helps in restoring the balance to normal. It also contributes to regulating the harmful bacteria.
  • Avoid processed foods and foods that are high in sugar as they aggravate the situation. Also, avoid alcohol. Eat healthy foods such as fresh vegetables and fresh fruits to provide you with the much-needed minerals and vitamins. Remember to drink plenty of water up to eight glasses in a day to keep yourself well hydrated and also to help your kidneys to flush out the harmful bacteria. This is an active and positive long-term bacterial vaginosis treatment in pregnancy.
  • Another effective way to relieve the itchiness is to soak clean gauze in cold water, wring it and place it on the itchy surface to reduce the burning sensation and irritation caused by bacterial vaginosis.
  • Always take your prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Always wear loose undergarments and maintain your undergarments in hygienic conditions. Wash them in warm water and make sure they are completely dry before wearing them. Wet undergarments especially when they are tight-fitting provide an ideal environment for yeast to thrive.

How to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnancy

Since there is no direct link to what causes BV, there is no one particular way for you to prevent the infection. However, the methods listed below can help reduce your chances of getting it:

  • Quit smoking because it increases the risk of catching BV.
  • Practice safe sex. It has been found that the rate of BV is high among people with multiple sexual partners, and low in women who have never had sex. It is not yet clear how sexual activity contributes to getting infected with BV.
  • Avoid practices such as douching. Douching products found in pharmacies contain ingredients that may disrupt the balance of bacteria in your vagina. Douching is also dangerous during pregnancy and is not recommended for bacterial vaginosis treatment during pregnancy. In fact, douching when pregnant can cause a rupture of your membranes which can lead to life threatening situations for both you and your child.