Midwife Matters

Pregnancy preparations, women's health, and care options

What is Group B streptococcus (strep)

Group B strep is a common bacteria carried in your intestines, urinary tract and vagina.  The bacteria is usually harmless in adults and can come and go without symptoms.  Antibiotic treatment does not completely eliminate the bacteria.

Why is Group B streptococcus a concern during pregnancy?

During delivery a baby can be exposed to Group B strep.  While harmless to the mom it can cause serious illness to the baby which may require extended intensive care. Group B strep is the most common cause of newborn infection, affecting one to three babies per 1,000 deliveries in the United States.

What is the screening process for Group B streptococcus?

During pregnancy all women are screened for Group B strep in the third trimester.  This is done with a swab in your vaginal and rectal area.  Pregnant women who carry Group B strep are then treated during labor.

How is Group B streptococcus treated?

IV antibiotic treatment is given during labor for women who carry Group B strep. This reduces Group B strep transmission to the baby and lowers the chance of newborn infection. Treatment prior to labor has not been shown to reduce Group B strept infection in babies and therefore is not done.

Please discuss any individual questions with your midwife.

« Pregnancy 3rd Trimester

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