Strep B during Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 18, 2012

Group B Streptococcus (GBS), commonly known as strep B, is a bacterial infection that is found in the vagina or the rectum of pregnant women. In fact, these bacteria are usually present in the vagina or the lower intestine of about 15% to 40% of all healthy, adult women. When a woman tests positive for GBS, she is said to be colonized. It is not very common in pregnant women, but the outcome can be quite severe, in some cases leading to potentially life threatening consequences for the baby during the time of delivery. The signs of GBS in a baby may include breathing problems, kidney problems, blood pressure instability, gastrointestinal problems, heart...

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.problems, pneumonia, sepsis and, most commonly, meningitisi

Strep B during pregnancy can be quite a cause of concern, as a mother can pass it on to her baby at the time of deliveryr


It affects about 1 in 2,000 babies in Americac This is why a GBS test is now a routine part of prenatal tests and carer If a woman does test positive for GBS, she can be treated with antibiotics at the time of labor, so that the bacteria are not passed on to her babyb Fortunately, not every baby, born to a woman who tested positive for strep B during pregnancy, falls illl Studies show that most women who screened positive for the test have delivered normal and healthy babies, because of adopting the right treatment at the right timem However, if they had not done so, their babies could have been exposed to life threatening side effectst

Testing for Strep B during pregnancy

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has recommended that the GBS test be performed anywhere between the 35th and the 37th weeks of pregnancy, as this is the most significant time for these bacteria to be detectede A swab of the vagina as well as the rectum will be takene After that, the sample will be tested in a lab, to check for the presence of GBSB The test results should be evident within 48 hoursr If a woman does test positive her physician will need to administer some antibiotics (like penicillin) through the IV, at the time of delivery, so that the baby does not get illl It is not advisable to use antibiotics to get rid of them before labor startst This is because they can come back even after taking the antibioticsc

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