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The UK NSC recommendation on Bacterial vaginosis screening in pregnancy

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed January 2015
Next review due in 2017/18
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Find general information about population health screening.

More about Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age. The condition occurs when there is a change in the natural bacterial balance in the vagina.

» Read more about bacterial vaginosis on NHS Choices

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

UK NSC Committee did not recommend because:

  • The available evidence is limited and could not demonstrate that the presence or absence of bacterial vaginosis could accurately identify which women would suffer complications, specifically preterm labour, and which would not.
  • There is no agreement on whether the recognised treatment, antibiotics, is actually effective in reducing the risk of premature birth. The research is conflicting with some studies showing antibiotics have no effect, while others show a positive effect or even a negative effect on the rate of preterm labour or the health of the baby.


Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
The Birth Trauma Association
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV
The Family Planning Association
National Childbirth Trust
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More about the recommendation review process, including the role of stakeholders, can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's recommendation review process.

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