BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS AND PRETERM BIRTH: A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Authors

  • David M. Paige MD, MPH,

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    • David M. Paige is professor of Maternal and Child Health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and holds a joint appointment in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

  • Marycatherine Augustyn PhD,

    Corresponding author
      Address correspondence to Marycatherine Augustyn, PhD, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205.
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    • Marycatherine Augustyn is the director of the Maternal and Child Community Health Science Consortium at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

  • William K. Adih MD, DrPH,

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    • William K. Adih is the coordinator of the Maternal and Child Community Health Science Consortium at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

  • Frank Witter MD,

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    • Frank Witter is an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

  • Jae Chang BA

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    • Jae Chang is a statistician with the Maternal and Child Community Health Science Consortium at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.


Address correspondence to Marycatherine Augustyn, PhD, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205.

ABSTRACT

Preterm low birth weight is the major determinant of infant morbidity and mortality. Numerous studies have linked bacterial vaginosis (BV) with preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW), especially among black women. This article reviews the published literature to provide clear evidence that BV is an independent risk factor for preterm birth and LBW. Pregnant black women are especially at risk, having nearly three times the level of BV as pregnant white women. Compounding the problem is the fact that half the population of women with BV are asymptomatic, and current standard antenatal procedures do not provide for screening for BV. By reviewing BV treatment literature, this article also provides evidence that treatment for BV is effective and that the identification and treatment of BV in pregnant women can lead to substantial reduction in the high rates of preterm birth and LBW.

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