Main Article Content
Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the most common genital tract infections in pregnancy associated with an increased risk of pregnancy losses, maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Different social behavioural and obstetric factors can contribute to the development of BV. Determining the predictors of BV could be the best way of identifying women at high risk of developing the disease.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted between December 2017 and February 2018 to determine the prevalence and predictors of BV among pregnant women attending antenatal Clinic (ANC) at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Tanzania. Participants were recruited using systematic random sampling. For each consented participant, a pretested questionnaire was filled, a pelvic examination was done and a sample was collected. BV was diagnosed using Nugent’s score. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 23.0. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was done to determine factors that were independently associated with BV.
Results: 178 (26.7%) pregnant women out of 667 were diagnosed positive for BV. In the bivariate analysis (Table 3), age (COR 1.71; 95% CI, 1.16-2.52), level of education (COR 4.08, 95% CI, 2.84-5.84), gravidity (COR, 1.52, 95% CI; 1.04-2.23), parity (COR 1.69, 95% CI; 1.18-2.42), vaginal douching (COR 2.89, 95% CI; 1.96-4.27), HIV status (COR 9.37, 95%CI; 4.12-21.28), history of STI (COR 2.49 95% CI; 1.46-4.25), LTSP (COR 2.76, 95% CI; 1.68-4.54) and age of first coitus (COR 3.19, 95% CI; 2.24-4.56) were significantly associated with BV. After adjusting for confounders in multivariate analysis, the following risk factors remained significantly associated with BV; age of 21- 29 years (AOR, 2.22, 95%CI; 1.45-3.49), primary education level (AOR 3.97, 95% CI; 2.63-5.98), vaginal douching (AOR 3.68, 95% CI; 2.35-5.76), HIV status (AOR 6.44, 95% CI; 2.62-15.88), STI infection (AOR 2.34, 95% CI; 1.25-4.37), more than one LTSP (AOR 2.69, 95% CI; 1.53-4.74) and age of less than 18 years of first coitus (AOR 2.16, 95% CI; 1.42-3.30).
Conclusion: The prevalence of BV in pregnant women was found to be high. Age of less than 30 years, primary education level and below, vaginal douching, HIV infection, STI, more than one lifetime sexual partners and early age of sexual debut were found to be significant predictors of BV. The high prevalence of BV in our population should necessitate policy makers to include screening and treatment of BV in the future policy of antenatal care package, as BV is associated with significant maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Women should also be educated on harmful effects of certain behavioural practices such as vaginal douching that predispose to BV. In addition symptoms of BV such as abnormal vaginal discharge during pregnancy are inconsistent, under reported and often overlooked. Therefore, a high-risk approach can be used for screening and treatment of asymptomatic women.