Three things you need to know about Group B strep

If you are pregnant, chances are you’ve heard your midwife or obstetrician talk about something called Group B strep, or GBS.

Maybe you’ve read about it in a pregnancy book or heard a friend mention it.

It’s something that every pregnant woman will need to learn about, so we are sharing three things you need to know about Group B strep. Read on:

What is it?

Group B strep, or GBS, is a bacterial infection that can affect about 25% of all women. It’s found in your vagina and rectum and you can pass it on to your baby at birth. It is rare, but doctors and midwives check for it because it can make your baby ill.

You should be screened – via a simple swab test — late in your pregnancy, around the 36th week.

How did I get it?

If you test positive for Group B strep, you might be wondering how you were infected. It’s not a sexually transmitted disease, so rest assured.

Group B strep can be found naturally in the vagina or rectum of a healthy woman and for most, there are no symptoms.

How do I keep myself and baby safe?

First, make sure you are tested by your midwife or doctor. If you test positive, talk with your doctor or midwife about your options – usually antibiotics during or after birth. It’s important to get treated, as babies who have GBS can have symptoms right after delivery that include:

  • Meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia
  • Breathing issues
  • Kidney or gastrointestinal issues
  • Heart/blood pressure issues

Some babies can also experience symptoms after birth, as well.

Everything Birth

At Everything Birth, we believe knowledge is power. If you have additional questions, please contact your midwife or doctor. We wish you a safe and healthy pregnancy!


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