Group B Streptococcus, also known as GBS, is a bacteria that can be found in the digestive, urinary and reproductive tracts of men and women. In women who are pregnant, GBS could affect pregnancy. Here is what women need to know about GBS:
Women can have GBS and not know it because typically GBS does not have any signs or symptoms and does not cause serious health problems in adults. Rarely, GBS can cause infections of the uterus and urinary tract and these can be transmitted to the baby as the baby passes through the birth canal. In newborns and infants, GBS can cause lung infections, blood infections, and meningitis. Therefore, it is important to have testing done during pregnancy to see if you are a carrier for GBS.
When should pregnant women be tested? Your doctor will typically test you for GBS using a vaginal/rectal culture around 35 to 37 weeks gestation.
How is GBS treated? GBS is treated with antibiotics after a positive culture. Typically a woman is treated with antibiotics during labor. Antibiotics help stop the spread of the bacteria from the mother to the newborn. If your water breaks, call your doctor and go to the hospital to ensure that you receive adequate antibiotic treatment.
What are the risk factors for developing GBS?
-Positive culture results at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy
-Previous newborn with GBS infection
-Previous GBS infection before or during pregnancy
-Urine bladder infection caused by GBS with or without symptoms
-Water breaking more than 18 hours before delivery
-Labor onset or water breaking before 37 weeks gestation
-Fever in labor greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
For more information visit:
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq105.pdf