Let’s talk about G-B-S

GBS

So it’s time for your 36 week appointment and you remember your doctor telling you this appointment involved a vaginal swab but you can’t remember why, then you’ve come to the right blog post. 

What is GBS?

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) aka Group B strep is a type of bacteria that can be found in a women’s vagina or rectum. This bacterium is normally found in 20-30 percent of pregnant women. It is not an STD. It can however be passed on from mother to infant during birth. When this happens, the infant can become very sick. They can get pneumonia, sepsis, or meningitis.  

How GBS is it tested?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) both recommend testing during a routine prenatal visit, done between 35-37 weeks. Test done earlier than this aren’t recommended because bacteria can come and go. 

What if I’m GBS Positive?

This just means that you’re a carrier and are at risk of passing it on to your baby. 1-2 out of 100 babies get sick if the mother is not treated. Treatment included IV antibiotics during labor. Antibiotics will begin once your labor has begun and given every four hours until the baby is delivered. The antibiotic of choice is Penicillin and it’s safe for the baby. If you are allergic there are other antibiotics. 

What if I don’t know my status?

There are times that antibiotics are given without testing first they included

What if I’m planning a Cesarean Birth?

Women planning on having a cesarean birth do not need antibiotics for GBS if their labor has not started and their bag of water is intact. They should still be tested for GBS just in case they go into labor beforehand. 

Author
Marie Mathurin Certified Nurse Midwife

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