Objective: It is stated commonly that the earlier in pregnancy bacterial vaginosis is diagnosed, the greater is the increase in risk of preterm birth compared with women without bacterial vaginosis. However, this contention is based on small numbers of women. Study design: In this analysis of 12,937 women who were screened for bacterial vaginosis as part of a previously conducted clinical trial, the odds ratio of preterm birth (<7 weeks of gestation) for asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis-positive versus bacterial vaginosis-negative women was evaluated among women who were screened from 8 to 22 weeks of gestation. Results: The odds ratio of preterm birth among bacterial vaginosis-positive versus bacterial vaginosis-negative women ranged from 1.1 to 1.6 and did not vary significantly according to the gestational age at which bacterial vaginosis was screened. The odds ratio for preterm birth did not vary significantly by gestational age at diagnosis when bacterial vaginosis was subdivided into Gram stain score 7 to 8 or 9 to 10. Conclusion: Although bacterial vaginosis was associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, the gestational age at which bacterial vaginosis was screened for and diagnosed did not influence the increase. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.