Chien-Wen Tseng, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.E.E. Hawaii Medical Service Association Endowed Chair Health Services and Quality Research Professor, and Associate Research Director Department of Family Medicine and Community Health University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

USPSTF Issues Screening Guidelines Screening for Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnancy to Prevent Preterm Delivery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chien-Wen Tseng, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.E.E. Hawaii Medical Service Association Endowed Chair Health Services and Quality Research Professor, and Associate Research Director Department of Family Medicine and Community Health University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Dr. Wen Tseng

Chien-Wen Tseng, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.E.E.
Hawaii Medical Service Association Endowed Chair
Health Services and Quality Research
Professor, and Associate Research Director
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine
Dr. Tseng is also a physician investigator with the nonprofit Pacific Health Research and Education Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs when the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina changes and there is less of the bacteria that usually helps prevent infections. People who have BV during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver their baby early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, which can lead to serious health problems for babies. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: The Task Force continues to recommend against screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnant people who are not at increased risk for delivering their babies early because it does not help prevent preterm delivery. For pregnant persons who are at increased risk for preterm delivery, it is unclear whether screening for BV can help prevent early delivery, and as such, the Task Force is calling for more research in this area.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The Task Force is committed to ensuring the health of babies and their mothers. Both clinicians and patients should know that the Task Force recommends against screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnant people who are not at increased risk for preterm delivery and do not have signs or symptoms of BV. For pregnant persons who are at increased risk for preterm delivery, the Task Force is calling for more research to know whether screening for BV will lower the risk of early delivery.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Unfortunately, there are still not enough studies in pregnant people who are at increased risk for preterm delivery to determine the benefits and harms of screening for bacterial vaginosis, so we are once again calling for more research on this important topic. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The key takeaway is that while the Task Force did not find enough evidence to recommend for or against screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnant people at increased risk for preterm delivery, the Task Force continues to recommend against screening for BV in people who are not at increased risk for delivering their babies early.

It is also important to note that the Task Force’s recommendation applies only to pregnant adults without signs or symptoms. If a patient is experiencing signs or symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, such as vaginal discharge or a bad odor, they should consult with their clinician. We encourage all pregnant persons to talk with their providers about how to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Citations: 

  1. US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnant Persons to Prevent Preterm Delivery: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2020;323(13):1286–1292. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2684 

2. Lewis AL, Laurent LC. USPSTF 2020 Recommendations on Screening for Asymptomatic Bacterial     Vaginosis in Pregnancy. JAMA. 2020;323(13):1253–1255. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.22311

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Apr 18, 2020 @ 11:27 am

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