Risk of preterm birth that is associated with vaginal douching

Kevin Fiscella, Peter Franks, Juliette S. Kendrick, Sean Meldrum, Burney A. Kieke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between vaginal douching and preterm birth. STUDY DESIGN: We enrolled hospitalized women after delivery in a case-control study. Women who were delivered of a live preterm singleton infant were assigned as cases. Women who were delivered at term were randomly selected as control subjects. We surveyed women about their douching habits and risk factors for preterm birth and abstracted data from the records. RESULTS: After adjustment, vaginal douching within 6 months of pregnancy was not significantly associated with preterm birth (odds ratio, 1.1; 95% Cl, 0.8-1.6). However, in secondary analyses, douching more than once per week (odds ratio, 4.0; 95% Cl, 1.0-15.5) or longer than 10 years (odds ratio, 1.9;95% Cl, 1.1-3.2) was associated with preterm birth. CONCLUSION: Vaginal douching does not appear to be a strong risk factor for preterm birth. Further study is needed to confirm the risk that is associated with frequent or long-term douching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1350
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Douching
  • Pregnancy
  • Preterm birth
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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