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Keywords:

  • bacterial vaginosis;
  • douching;
  • fetal mortality;
  • infant mortality;
  • racial disparities

Abstract  This study determined the prevalence of maternal bacterial vaginosis (BV) in fetal/infant mortality cases and factors associated with BV. A retrospective descriptive study was utilized. Data were obtained from review of vital statistics and medical records of 176 women experiencing fetal/infant deaths in eight Florida counties, 1999 to 2000. Non-White mothers accounted for 68.96% of deaths (chi square = 10.119, df = 4, p = 0.038), although the population of the eight counties was 64% White. Of 121 non-White mothers (68.8%) with infections, 37 (30.6%) had BV. Most fetal/infant deaths (39.7%) occurred 20–23 weeks' gestation and at birthweights <500 g, as did most cases of BV (46%). Women with BV were more likely to be non-White (OR 2.756, 95% CI 1.075, 7.066), single (OR 2.090, 95% CI 1.081, 7.246), <24 years old (t = 3.172, p = 0.002), and have <12 years of education (t = 2.56, p = 0.011). Findings support early screening and treatment for BV in women with these risk factors or a history of prior fetal/infant loss or preterm/low-birthweight infant. Factors contributing to racial disparity in BV and fetal/infant mortality need further exploration.