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What is Group B Streptococcus? 

Group B Streptococcus (Group B Strep) is a common bacterium that is found in the human body. It is normally harmless in healthy adults. Group B Strep can be found in the vagina in about 30% of pregnant women. Sometimes Group B Step can be transmitted to a baby during delivery which can occasionally result in serious illness in the newborn.


Facts about Group B Strep

Even if you are a carrier of Group B strep, your baby will not necessarily get infected or develop serious illness.

There is no treatment that can prevent you from being a carrier of Group B strep.

It is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Group B strep can cause urinary tract infections, infection of amniotic fluid and infection of the uterus.

 Newborns who are infected with Group B strep can develop pneumonia, meningitis or blood infections.

Full-term babies who are born to mothers who carry GBS in the vagina at the time of labor and childbirth have a 1 in 200 chance of getting sick from GBS during the first few days of life.

Premature babies have an increased chance of becoming ill from GBS if it is present.


Treatment for Group B Strep

If your doctor finds that your baby is at risk of group B strep infection, you will be given an antibiotic to help prevent the baby becoming infected. The medication will be given through the intravenous line during labor and delivery.


Group B Strep Testing

A routine Group B Strep culture is commonly done during the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. We obtain the culture at the office during a regular prenatal visit. The results show whether you have the group B strep bacterium in the genital area but it does not indicate whether the baby will be infected. They results do help your doctor decide whether antibiotic treatment to prevent infection is needed. Group B strep can also cause a urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Urinary tract infections are treated at the time of diagnosis.


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask your health care provider.

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