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How does a pregnant woman get group b strep

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Group B Streptococcus group B strep, GBS is a type of bacteria often found in the urinary tract , digestive system , and reproductive tracts. The bacteria come and go from our bodies, so most people who have it don't know that they do. GBS usually doesn't cause health problems. Health problems from GBS are not common.

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Group B Streptococcus & Pregnancy

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Back to patient information homepage. This patient information leaflet provides advice for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant about Group B Streptococcus GBS infection in newborn babies. This information is for you if you or a friend or relative are expecting a baby, planning to become pregnant or have recently had a baby.

Carrying GBS is not harmful to you but it can affect your baby around the time of birth. GBS can occasionally cause serious infection in newborn babies, and, very rarely, during pregnancy and before labour. Many babies come into contact with GBS during labour or around birth. The vast majority of these babies will not become ill. However, if you carry GBS, there is a small chance that your baby will develop GBS infection and become seriously ill, or even die.

The infections that GBS most commonly causes in newborn babies are sepsis infection of the blood , pneumonia infection in the lungs and meningitis infection of the fluid and lining around the brain.

Although GBS infection can make your baby very unwell, with prompt treatment most babies will recover fully. However, of the babies who develop early-onset GBS infection, 1 in 19 5.

You should discuss your planned place of birth with your healthcare professional during pregnancy to make sure that you can receive antibiotics as required in labour.

If you choose to have antibiotics, they will be given through a drip and it may not always be possible to arrange this at home or in some midwifery- led units. As soon as you go into labour or your waters break, contact your healthcare professional as it is important that you have antibiotics as soon as possible.

You should always let your healthcare professional know if you have previously had a baby who had GBS infection or if you have tested positive for GBS in this pregnancy. If you are found to carry GBS in your vagina or rectum, treating you with antibiotics before your labour begins does not reduce the chance of your baby developing GBS infection.

You do not need antibiotic treatment until labour starts, when you will be offered antibiotics through a drip to reduce the chance of your baby being infected. These antibiotics reduce the risk of your baby developing a GBS infection in their first week of life from around 1 in to 1 in If GBS is found in your urine then you will need antibiotics as soon as it is diagnosed to treat your urinary tract infection; you will also be offered antibiotics through a drip during labour to prevent GBS infection in your baby.

There are other situations where you will be offered antibiotics but these are not specifically related to GBS infection:. All women having a caesarean section will be offered antibiotics at the time of the operation to reduce the risk of a wide variety of infections.

If you have been offered antibiotics to prevent GBS infection in your baby, these should be started as soon as possible after your labour begins, or after your waters have broken. They will be given through a drip and continued at regular intervals usually 4-hourly until your baby is born.

You should still be able to move around freely during labour and this should not stop you from having a water birth. If your waters break before labour, your healthcare professional will talk to you about when you will need antibiotics and about the best time for your baby to be born.

This will depend on your individual circumstances and on how many weeks pregnant you are. The antibiotic that you will be offered to prevent GBS infection in your baby is usually penicillin. If you are allergic to penicillin then you will be offered a suitable alternative. Some women may experience temporary side effects such as feeling sick or having diarrhoea. Women can be allergic to certain antibiotics and in rare cases the reaction may be severe and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Tell your healthcare professional if you know that you are allergic to penicillin or any other medications. Your healthcare professional should discuss with you the benefits and risks of taking antibiotics in labour to prevent early-onset GBS infection in your baby. If you choose not to have antibiotics in labour then your baby will be monitored closely for 12 hours after birth as they are at increased risk of developing early-onset GBS infection.

If your baby is born at full term after 37 completed weeks and you received antibiotics through a drip in labour at least 4 hours before giving birth then your baby does not need special monitoring after birth. If your baby is felt to be at higher risk of GBS infection and you did not get antibiotics through a drip at least 4 hours before giving birth then your baby will be monitored closely for signs of infection for at least 12 hours. If you have previously had a baby affected by GBS infection then your baby will be monitored for 12 hours even if you had antibiotics through a drip in labour.

The chance of your baby developing GBS infection after 12 hours is very low and neither you nor your baby will need antibiotics after this time unless you or your baby becomes ill. Most babies who develop GBS infection become unwell in the first week of life which is known as early- onset GBS infection , usually within 12—24 hours of birth.

Although less common, late-onset GBS infection can affect your baby up until they are 3 months old. Having antibiotics during labour does not prevent late- onset GBS. More information on late-onset GBS infection is available here: www. If you notice any of these signs or are worried about your baby, you should urgently contact your healthcare professional and also mention GBS.

If your baby has GBS infection, early diagnosis and treatment is important as delay could be very serious or even fatal. If it is thought that your newborn baby has an infection, tests will be done to see whether GBS is the cause. This will be discussed fully with you before the tests are done.

Babies with signs of GBS infection or babies who are suspected to have the infection should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. Antibiotics can be life-saving when given to babies with suspected infection. Treatment will be stopped if there is no sign of infection after at least 36 hours, and all the tests are negative.

It is safe to breastfeed your new baby. Breastfeeding has not been shown to increase the risk of GBS infection, and it offers many benefits to both you and your baby. This is because:. A full list of useful organisations including the above is available on the RCOG website at: www.

If you are asked to make a choice, you may have lots of questions that you want to ask. You may also want to talk over your options with your family or friends. It can help to write a list of the questions you want answered and take it to your appointment.

To begin with, try to make sure you get the answers to 3 key questions , if you are asked to make a choice about your healthcare:. Three questions that patients can ask to improve the quality of information physicians give about treatment options: A cross-over trial.

Patient Education and Counselling, ; The Guideline contains a full list of the sources of evidence used. You can find it online at: www.

If you would like to order paper copies of this leaflet, please contact Group B Strep Support on or info gbss. If you have recently read one of our leaflets, please give us feedback by completing this short questionnaire. Toggle navigation. About this information This information is for you if you or a friend or relative are expecting a baby, planning to become pregnant or have recently had a baby.

If you carry GBS, most of the time your baby will be born safely and will not develop an infection. However, it can rarely cause serious infection such as sepsis, pneumonia or meningitis. Most early-onset GBS infections are preventable. If GBS is found in your urine, vagina or rectum bowel during your current pregnancy, or if you have previously had a baby affected by GBS infection, you should be offered antibiotics in labour to reduce the small risk of this infection to your baby.

The risk of your baby becoming unwell with GBS infection is increased if your baby is born preterm, if you have a temperature while you are in labour, or if your waters break before you go into labour. If your newborn baby develops signs of GBS infection, they should be treated with antibiotics straight away.

What is GBS? How is GBS found? GBS is sometimes found during pregnancy when you have vaginal or rectal swabs or a urine test.

What could GBS mean for my baby? On average in the UK, every month: 43 babies develop early-onset GBS infection 38 babies make a full recovery 3 babies survive with long-term physical or mental disabilities 2 babies die from their early-onset GBS infection.

What puts my baby at higher risk of developing GBS infection? Infection is more likely to happen if: your baby is born preterm before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy — the earlier your baby is born, the greater the risk you have previously had a baby affected by GBS infection you have had a high temperature or other signs of infection during labour you have had any positive urine or swab test for GBS in this pregnancy your waters have broken more than 24 hours before your baby is born.

How can the risk to my baby be reduced? A urine infection caused by GBS should be treated with antibiotic tablets straight away and you should also be offered antibiotics through a drip during labour. You should be offered antibiotics through a drip during labour if you have had a GBS-positive swab or urine test from an NHS or other accredited laboratory see the GBSS website for further information: www. If you have previously had a baby who was diagnosed with GBS infection, you should be offered antibiotics through a drip when you are in labour.

If your waters break after 37 weeks of your pregnancy and you are known to carry GBS, you will be offered induction of labour straight away. This is to reduce the time that your baby is exposed to GBS before birth. You should also be offered antibiotics through a drip. Even if you are not known to carry GBS, if you develop any signs of infection in labour, you will be offered antibiotics through a drip that will treat a wide range of infections including GBS.

If your labour starts before 37 weeks of your pregnancy, your healthcare professional will recommend that you have antibiotics through a drip even if you are not known to carry GBS.

What are my options for where I can have my baby? If GBS has been found, when should I have antibiotics? There are other situations where you will be offered antibiotics but these are not specifically related to GBS infection: If your waters break preterm before 37 weeks but you are not in labour, you may be offered a course of antibiotics.

If you are having a planned caesarean section and you carry GBS, you do not need antibiotics to prevent GBS infection in your baby unless labour has started or your waters have broken. If a previous baby was affected with GBS infection then you should be offered antibiotics during labour in all following pregnancies, as there is an increased risk that a future baby may also be affected.

To help you choose whether you would like to have antibiotics in labour, you can have a specific swab test known as the enriched culture medium or ECM test to see whether you are carrying GBS when you are 35—37 weeks pregnant. If the result shows that: you are still carrying GBS at this stage of pregnancy then the risk of your baby developing early-onset GBS infection is increased to around 1 in and you will be offered antibiotics in labour you are not carrying GBS at this stage of pregnancy then the risk of your baby developing early-onset GBS infection is much lower 1 in and you may choose not to have antibiotics.

This is because: many women carry the GBS bacteria and, in the majority of cases, their babies are born safely and do not develop an infection screening all women late in pregnancy cannot accurately predict which babies will develop GBS infection no screening test is entirely accurate: a negative swab test does not guarantee that you do not carry GBS many babies who are severely affected by GBS infection are born preterm, before the suggested time for screening 35—37 weeks giving antibiotics to all women who carry GBS would mean that a very large number of women would receive treatment they do not need.

Shared Decision Making If you are asked to make a choice, you may have lots of questions that you want to ask. Ask 3 Questions To begin with, try to make sure you get the answers to 3 key questions , if you are asked to make a choice about your healthcare: What are my options?

What are the pros and cons of each option for me? How do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me? Listen to the audio version of this leaflet.

Fast Facts

This page explains what the test is for, which babies are at risk of infection and how group B strep is treated. Group B strep is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines, rectum or vagina. Many women have it, and it usually causes no health concerns or symptoms.

Please sign in or sign up for a March of Dimes account to proceed. Group B streptococcus also called Group B strep or GBS is a common type of bacteria tiny organisms that live in and around your body that can cause infection.

It can be found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and genital area of adults. GBS infection usually does not cause problems in healthy women before pregnancy. But it can cause serious illness for a newborn baby. It may cause sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, or seizures.

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Back to Health A to Z. It's very common — up to 2 in 5 people have it living in their body, usually in the rectum or vagina. It's not routinely tested for, but may be found during tests carried out for another reason, such as a urine test or vaginal swab. Routine testing isn't currently recommended and tests are rarely done on the NHS, but you can pay for one privately. You can find information about getting tested for group B strep on the Group B Strep Support website. If tests find group B strep, or you have had a baby that's been affected by it before, you may need extra care and treatment. If you had group B strep during pregnancy, there's a small risk it could spread to your baby and make them very ill. If this happens, it's usually soon after they're born. Your baby may be monitored in hospital for up to 12 hours to check for any problems.

Associated Content

Group B Streptococcus GBS is a normal bacteria germ that is present in up to 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women. A woman with GBS can pass the bacteria to her infant during delivery. Most newborns who get GBS do not become ill. However, the bacteria can cause serious and even life-threatening infections in a small percentage of newborns. In pregnant women, GBS is found most frequently in the vagina and rectum.

Back to Pregnancy. Sometimes GBS infection in newborn babies can cause serious complications that can be life threatening, but this is not common.

Please read our Disclaimer and Terms of Use. Group B strep lives in the intestines and migrates down to the rectum, vagina, and urinary tract. Using a swab of the rectum and vagina, people can test positive for GBS temporarily, on-and-off, or persistently CDC This article focuses on Group B Strep in pregnancy in the United States, along with some information about other countries.

Group B Strep and Pregnancy

Metrics details. As administration of prophylactic antibiotics during labor can prevent GBS infection, routine screening for this bacterium in prenatal care before the onset of labor is recommended. However, many women present in labor without having undergone such testing during antenatal care, and the turnaround time of detection methods is insufficient for results to be obtained before delivery.

Group B strep streptococcus is a common bacterium often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract. The bacterium is usually harmless in healthy adults. In newborns, however, it can cause a serious illness known as group B strep disease. Group B strep can also cause dangerous infections in adults with certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or liver disease. Older adults are at increased risk of illness due to group B strep, too.

Group B strep

Why is group B streptococcus a concern for pregnant women? How can group B streptococcus affect a newborn? Will I be tested for group B streptococcus? Are there times when antibiotics are given without testing first? Group B streptococcus GBS is one of the many bacteria that live in the body. It usually does not cause serious illness, and it is not a sexually transmitted infection STI.

It's normally harmless and most people won't realise they have it. It's usually only a problem if it affects: pregnant woman – it could spread to the baby; young.

It is found in the vagina and bowel and is usually not harmful to women that carry it. As the GBS bacteria can live in the vagina babies can come into contact with GBS after waters break and during the process of giving birth. Most will be unaffected, but a small number of babies around 1 in can develop an infection as a result.

Group B strep infection

Back to patient information homepage. This patient information leaflet provides advice for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant about Group B Streptococcus GBS infection in newborn babies. This information is for you if you or a friend or relative are expecting a baby, planning to become pregnant or have recently had a baby.

What are the risks of group B streptococcus (GBS) infection during pregnancy?

Anyone can get group B strep GBS disease, but some people are at greater risk for disease than others. Being a certain age or having certain medical conditions can put you at increased risk for GBS disease. GBS disease is most common in newborns. In adults, most cases of GBS disease are among those who have other medical conditions.

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Group B Strep and Pregnancy

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What are the risks of group B streptococcus (GBS) infection during pregnancy?

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