WHAT IS GROUP B STREP (GBS)?
Group B streptococcal bacteria is commonly found in your gut flora, but sometimes found on the vagina and rectum of healthy women of all races and ethnicities. According the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of 4 women in the United States carry this type of bacteria. These bacteria can come and go naturally in the body. It’s not an STD or something that you have caught from someone else.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET TESTED FOR GBS WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT?
You need to get a test every time you’re pregnant. It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t have this type of bacteria before; each pregnancy is different.
The CDC recommends getting the test when you are 35-37 weeks pregnant.
The test is an easy swab of the vagina and rectum that should not hurt. There are no risks to you or your baby from a GBS test.
If you have the bacteria, you can pass it to your baby during childbirth. If you carry GBS, you will need an antibiotic during labor to keep your baby from getting sick.
What happens to babies born to moms with non-treated GBS?
Exposure to Group B strep is the most common cause of sepsis (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain). Most newborn disease happens within the first week of life. Until recent prevention efforts, hundreds of babies died from exposure to group B strep every year.
To make an appointment for GBS testing, call our patient navigator.
WHAT IF YOU TEST NEGATIVE?
If you test negative for GBS, you don’t need to do anything else.
WHAT IF YOU TEST POSITIVE?
What does it mean to test positive?
It doesn’t mean you have an infection, it only means you have the bacteria on your vagina or rectum. You will not feel sick or have any symptoms. GBS is usually not harmful to you. It doesn’t mean you’re not clean. Other people you live with, including other children, are not at risk of getting sick from GBS.
If the test shows that you carry the bacteria, your doctor or midwife will give you an antibiotic during labor.
You will get the antibiotic (usually penicillin) through an IV (in the vein).
Why can’t you take antibiotics before you go into labor?
Because the bacteria grow quickly, doing this will not prevent the problem.
During labor at the hospital – if you’ve tested positive
Source: Centers for Disease Control
For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/Features/GroupBStrep/