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Group B Strep in Pregnancy: Now What?

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Testing for group B strep has become a part of routine prenatal care. Understandably, a positive result can be stressful for pregnant women. It is normal to worry about this infection and its possible impact on your growing baby. We will be discussing group B strep, its treatment and its potential risks.

What is Group B Strep?

Group B streptococcus, more commonly known as group B strep, is a bacterial infection which can pass from a pregnant woman to her baby.

How is Group B Strep Diagnosed?

Pregnant women are routinely screened for group B strep in late pregnancy (usually around 36 weeks). During a routine prenatal visit, a culture swab is taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Obtaining the culture is painless.

How Does Group B Strep Impact Pregnancy?

Although group B strep may not be harmful to the mother, it could have negative consequences for the baby. Most women who test positive for group B strep are asymptomatic. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 4 women pregnant women carry group B strep in their body. In babies, untreated group B strep can result in meningitis and blood stream infections in the first three months of life.

How Did I Get Group B Strep?

It is common for pregnant women to have questions after receiving a diagnosis of group B strep. It is important to stress that group B strep colonization is not a sexually transmitted disease.

How Do I Treat Group B Strep?

If you test positive for group B strep, you will be given intravenous antibiotics as soon as your water breaks or you go into labor. Your physician will advise you to present to the hospital as soon as labor occurs.

Takeaway Message:

Group B strep is an infection that pregnant woman are routinely screened for during late pregnancy. Since group B strep can have health impacts, it is important that pregnant women are aware of their status. If you test positive, your physician will likely administer intravenous antibiotics once your water breaks or you go into labor. Antibiotic treatment significantly decreases the likelihood that your baby will develop group B strep.

Have you been diagnosed with group B strep during pregnancy? We would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.

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