Group B Strep
It might be hard to believe, but our bodies are full of bacteria that aren't harmful and can go completely unnoticed.
Group B Streptococcus is one such bacteria that can go unnoticed, found in urinary, digestive or reproductive tracts. About 25% of women carry Group B Strep Bacteria and don't even realize it.
Although undetected by the mother, Group B Strep can be potentially harmful to a new baby in the womb and during labor.
Group B Strep shouldn't be confused with Group A Strep, the type of bacteria that causes painful strep throat. There's also nothing "unclean" or negative that can cause someone to contract Group B Strep.
In some cases, Group B Strep can create infections in the reproductive tracts of expectant mothers. These infections can occur in the placenta, amniotic fluid, womb and urinary tract during pregnancy. Although complications from Group B Strep are relatively rare and not necessarily certain, they can cause serious infections in newborns with weak or underdeveloped immune systems. Premature babies are more at risk for early onset infections when exposed to Group B Strep because of their delicate immune systems.
Babies affected by Group B Strep can be categorized into two different phases; early and late onset GBS infections.
Group B Strep can be regularly monitored for during pregnancy with a simple and painless procedure. Around your 36 week prenatal visit they will perform a routine GBS test by swabbing the vaginal area. These simple precautions can prevent serious complications for your little one by creating a treatment plan.
Aside from administered antibiotics during pregnancy and labor, there isn't much that can treat the presence of the bacteria or reduce the risks for late onset disease in newborns. Most often IV antibiotics are administered intravenously during labor every four hours. This won't affect your birth much aside from requiring you to come in early enough to receive two doses of antibiotics before delivery.
Ask your care practitioner about Group B Streptococcus risks and preventative measures to ensure your baby's birth is as healthy as possible.
Although it sounds intimidating, most women who test positive for Group B Strep will not pass the bacteria to their baby during delivery. Don't be apprehensive to discuss anything with your birth team that makes you uncomfortable or any potential risks.
Testing for Group B Strep during pregnancy is a preventative measure that any expectant mother can take to potentially diminish their baby's risks for contracting the bacteria during birth. Additionally, in pregnancy you can keep your vaginal flora healthy with probiotics specifically for your vaginal flora, we love Renew Life's Ultimate Flora Women's Vaginal Probiotic for this.
You know what's best for your baby and like all the precautions you take each day during your pregnancy, a Group B Strep test is another step you can take to make your baby's birth as healthy as possible.