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Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2003;11(2):123-9.

The effect of treating bacterial vaginosis on preterm labor.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33601-1289, USA.



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.


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


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.


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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