Bacterial Vaginosis Is Common During Pregnancy And Can Have Devastating Effects
One in four women will experience bacterial vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy, with a high chance of recurring infection. Sometimes, a commonly prescribed antibiotic for BV won’t work to cure the condition because the bacteria causing the BV are resistant. The mistreatment and high rate of recurrence of BV is important because BV during pregnancy can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, premature rupture of the membranes, preterm birth and resultant cerebral palsy, and low birth weight.
There are only two commonly prescribed antibiotics used to treat BV: Metronidazole and Clindamycin. Yet, the high rate of recurrence indicates that something pertaining to the treatment is not working. Indeed, there are heated debates in the scientific community over which bacteria actually cause BV and its complications. Dozens of bacterial species have been linked with BV, and BV in a particular woman may involve more than one type of bacterium.
The Bacterium G. Vaginalis Is Likely Responsible For Premature Birth
Gardnerella vaginalis was the first bacterium implicated in the pathogenesis of BV and continues to be associated with the infection. But the bacterium’s role has been the subject of much debate. This month, research has been published that further classifies G. vaginalis’ role in BV, and it demonstrates that this bacterium very likely plays a role in premature births as well as in BV.
There has been a long association between BV and premature birth, as well as other birth injuries. Premature birth can lead to permanent injuries in the baby, such as cerebral palsy. Researchers and physicians were never certain of the mechanisms by which BV contributes to premature birth. But the research recently published illustrates G. vaginalis’s role. The bacteria present during BV cause the vaginal lining to shed, which exposes sensitive underlying tissue. There is an increase in the presence of shed cells during BV, and the recent research suggests that G. vaginalis is the cause of this increase.
G. vaginalis seems to cause degradation of the vaginal lining, and it degrades the mucus that normally helps protect the vagina and uterus from infection. Specifically, the mucus plug that protects the pregnant uterus from vaginal bacteria can become degraded. The infection that can result is a common cause of preterm birth.
Treatment: Clindamycin Can Be More Effective Than Metronidazole
Learning that G. vaginalis may cause BV (in fact, it is one of the most frequently isolated bacterial species in BV), and that G. vaginalis causes degradation of the protective uterine mucus is significant because research has shown that G. vaginalis is more resistant to Metronidazole. The research further shows that Clindamycin has a better clinical efficacy than Metronidazole in cases of recurrent BV.
Bacterial Vaginosis And Medical Malpractice
Since G. vaginalis can degrade the protective mucus plug, it is essential that BV and G. vaginalis be promptly treated. It also is crucial for physicians to prescribe appropriate antibiotics. The potential effects of failing to do this, which include preterm birth, are devastating.
Prompt, appropriate treatment of BV to prevent or minimize damage to the uterus caused by G. vaginalis and BV is crucial. Failure of physicians to do this may constitute negligence. If this negligence leads to injury of the mother or baby, it is medical malpractice.
Reiter and Walsh ABC Law Centers have been helping families with birth injuries for many years. Call our highly skilled attorneys for a free case review at 888-419-2229 or use our live chat at the left side of your screen.