I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful son, who is now aged 7, but he was born very prematurely, and we think it’s because I had BV when I was pregnant. I want to share my story with other people so they don’t’ have to go through what we did – as it’s a condition that is so simple to treat, and so easy to misdiagnose.
It took a while to get pregnant with Callum but we kept on trying and eventually we were delighted to be expecting our first baby. When Callum arrived unexpectedly at 25 weeks, weighing just 1.9lbs, we were distraught, how could this have happened? I had popped into the hospital to ask them to check on a discharge I had been having for a couple of weeks, only to find out that I was in labour!
At the time I was told that the reason I had gone into labour was because I had an ‘incompetent cervix’, meaning my body wasn’t able to carry Callum to term. This really caused me concern as an incompetent cervix doesn’t fix itself and the same this could happen if I had another baby. However, a few years later, we weighed up the risks and decided that we should try for another baby.
Because of the complications with Callum’s birth the hospital put me under the watchful eye of a new consultant during my second pregnancy. On my first appointment she studied my medical records in detail and told me that she didn’t think I had an incompetent cervix but instead suspected I may have had BV during my first pregnancy. BV may have caused my back waters to leak and brought about his premature birth. We were devastated and really shocked to learn that the original diagnosis wasn’t the reason behind my early labour, and that an infection that I could have easily treated, had I understood the symptoms, caused it instead.
I was treated for BV during my second pregnancy and my second son, Alexander, was born on this due date weighing a healthy 7lbs.
Thankfully Callum is doing well now, after an extended stay in hospital after his birth. The first few months of his life were very worrying, but after many complications brought about by his early start, he’s now a wonderful, healthy and energetic seven-year-old.
With hindsight, a lot of my recurrent infections that I’ve experienced all through my life, may have been BV, but I’d been ignoring it or treating myself for thrush. When you’re pregnant you are told to watch out for a bloody discharge but never for watery, fishy discharge which I now know is a symptom of BV.
Since I was told the real reason behind Callum’s premature birth and was treated for it during my pregnancy with Alexander, I have been working with the team at Balance Activ to share my story wherever possible and try to prevent other women from going through the same trauma that my family did.