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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Mar;188(3):752-8.

Antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Section of Clinical Biometrics, University of Vienna, Austria.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy to reduce preterm delivery.


We performed a meta-analysis of published, English-language, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials of antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women with intact amniotic membranes at <37 weeks of gestation. Primary outcomes included preterm delivery, perinatal or neonatal death, and neonatal morbidity.


Ten studies with results for 3969 patients were included. In patients without preterm labor, antibiotic treatment did not significantly decrease preterm delivery at <37 weeks of gestation, in all patients combined (odds ratio, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.57-1.21) nor in high-risk patients with a previous preterm delivery (odds ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.22-1.12). In both groups, significant statistical heterogeneity was observed. A significant reduction in preterm delivery and no statistical heterogeneity were observed in 338 high-risk patients who received oral regimens with treatment durations of > or =7 days (odds ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27-0.67). Nonsignificant effects and no statistical heterogeneity were observed in low-risk patients (odds ratio, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.71-1.25) and with vaginal regimens (odds ratio, 1.25; 95% CI: 0.86-1.81). In one study antibiotic treatment in patients with preterm labor led to a nonsignificant decrease in the rate of preterm deliveries (odds ratio, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.03-3.24).


The screening of pregnant women who have bacterial vaginosis and who have had a previous preterm delivery and treatment with an oral regimen of longer duration can be justified on the basis of current evidence. More studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of this strategy, both in high-risk patients without preterm labor and in patients with preterm labor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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