Objective: To evaluate whether vaginal flora is altered by antibiotic exposure and associated with a risk of preterm birth, particularly among women with initially normal vaginal flora. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a randomized trial of metronidazole and erythromycin for the prevention of preterm birth among women with a positive fetal fibronectin test. Vaginal swabs for Nugent Gram stain score were collected for classification of bacterial vaginosis before and after antibiotic exposure and read at a central laboratory. Change in Nugent score was assessed for women with (score 7 or higher) or without (score lower than 7) bacterial vaginosis. Linear regression analysis evaluated whether change in Nugent score was associated with preterm birth. Results: Two hundred women without and 69 women with bacterial vaginosis had Gram stain performed before and after antibiotic therapy. Median Nugent score for all women declined from 4.0 to 2.0 after antibiotic therapy (P<.001). Nugent score declined both for those without (from 2.0 to 1.5, P=.11) and, more dramatically, those with bacterial vaginosis (from 8.0 to 3.0, P<.01). The components of the Nugent score that were affected by antibiotic exposure were similar among women with and without bacterial vaginosis. Antibiotic exposure and the change in Nugent score were unrelated to preterm birth among bacterial vaginosis-negative women. Conclusion: Antibiotic exposure is not associated with preterm birth and does not worsen Nugent score among women with normal vaginal flora and positive fetal fibronectin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology