Prenatal Tests: Group Beta Strep (Group B Strep)
Let's talk Group B Strep in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is going and you've finally reached your third trimester! Here you are with only a few things left to do before baby's arrival. When you hit your 36th week of pregnancy there are some changes that will happen.
You will begin weekly visits with your provider to pay extra attention to baby's growth and health, you can also expect a few tests. In your third trimester you will have your Group B Strep or GBS test, possibly a non stress test or a biophysical profile if needed to check placenta function, weight gain, and more on your growing little one.
There is a way for Winchester families to learn more in-depth information about each pregnancy trimester and staying comfortable during those stages, tests, interventions, what to expect, communication tools, birth planning and more. You can consider a Winchester Childbirth Education Class to meet local couples and spend a few hours really learning and preparing. Classes are held once a month for scheduling convenience!
What is Group B Strep?
Group B Strep is a common bacteria found in the gut, vaginal and anal tract of pregnant women. While it is not necessarily harmful to adults, it is harmful for infants to contract. About 30% of healthy pregnant women have a GBS over gowth, so this does not mean you are doing something wrong, you just carry it. Testing is important so that your prover can plan for proactive antibiotic treatment to reduce the chances of your baby contracting GBS.
Treatment in labor for GBS positive women is IV administration of Penicillin antibiotic or possibly ampicillin, though penicillin is preferred. This is administered in a dose every four hours from the time you arrive to your birthing facility until you deliver your baby. If you are GBS positive and you do not receive treatment you have a 1-2% chance of passing it on to your newborn, thankfully we have systems in place to ensure women are given antibiotics, even if you are birthing in a birth center. While some women ask if they can opt out of using antibiotics during labor, it isn't recommended because of the success they see with reducing serious cases of GBS infection in infants.
Does anything increase your chances of my baby becoming infected with GBS?
Chances of passing GBS to your newborn can be increased with certain risk factors such as premature delivery (37 weeks and younger), a fever during labor, prolonged rupture of membranes, and you have had a baby infected with GBS before. Your providers will keep an eye out on your temperature, and if your water is broken they will also keep an eye out on the time.
What to expect for your GBS test
Around 36 weeks you will get your GBS test at your prenatal appointment. Getting the test is done like a cervical exam with a small swab brush that will be used internally and swiped down your perineum to test for bacteria. You should know within a week of testing if you are positive for an overgrowth or negative.
GBS is not something to be overly concerned with, your provider will keep you looked after if you are positive and regardless of if you are positive or negative, your pediatric nurses will aways keep an eye out on your newborn.