Not knowing the facts about Bacterial Vaginosis made a big difference when Amanda was starting a family.
Her first son, Callum, was born at just 25 weeks, weighing 1.9lbs. At the time, Amanda was told the premature birth was most likely due to having an incompetent cervix, meaning she couldn’t carry Callum to full term.
This was a real worry when Amanda fell pregnant a second time. However, at around 15 weeks her consultant told her that, instead of an incompetent cervix, she had probably suffered from Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) during her first pregnancy, which had caused Callum’s premature birth.
Amanda described how relieved she was:
“It was a real shock to learn that the diagnosis of an incompetent cervix was probably not the reason I went into early labour, and that an easily treatable infection could have had such devastating consequences. Callum was in hospital for three months in total, and there were times when we thought we’d lose him. However, he’s thankfully now doing well, and is an energetic six-year-old. It’s scary to think what could have happened though.”
BV is the most common vaginal infection for those of us of childbearing age, however, two out of three of us are misdiagnosing BV as thrush due to lack of awareness. Amanda believes passionately that pregnant women should know more about the potentially dangerous implications of BV.
“I used to self-diagnose myself as having thrush from the age of about 20. With hindsight a lot of the time this may have been BV. I was told to seek advice about bloody discharge, but not for watery, discharge which is a symptom of BV.
“I now know that BV is easily treated with an over-the-counter product called Balance Activ®. It is safe to use during pregnancy and can be used to maintain vaginal pH too. I just wish I’d known that I was suffering from BV, as being diagnosed would have meant that I wouldn’t have had to go through the trauma of a pre-term birth and all the worry and stress that that caused for my family.”
If you notice BV symptoms during pregnancy, there’s a chance they may lead to complications or secondary infections, so it’s best to get them checked out right away by your healthcare professional. You can also visit our online symptom checker here.