Is Your Vaginal Infection Getting You Down?

Recently a group of obstetrical researchers from southern California institutions, pared with some southeast Coast epidemiologists have come to the conclusion that having a bacterial infection during pregnancy is not only potentially a more serious physical infection than in the non-pregnant state, but that these infections are linked with psychological stress in the pregnancy as well. Their study, reported in the May 2011 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology does have to be viewed with some skepticism, in that some research shows that about 40% of the pregnant moms will have one of these infections over time, so looking for markers of stress in such a large group, who likely have many differing medical histories makes some of us gynos wary of the conclusions. BV is associated with about a 2 x greater risk of preterm delivery, and stress weakens our innate abilities to fight off infection. The authors looked at stress in quite a unique way however, they worked backwards, they showed that early life stress and psychological challenges predisposed their patients to infection, rather than just looking at who got the BV and then looking for stress. In short, they wanted the gynos taking care of patients to realize that a whole life perspective, including learning about lifetime chronic stress might improve care. They didn't specifically look at how stressful getting that infection in pregnancy is, but the gynos do gab with their patients about that on a daily basis, as we know that to be true!


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