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July 09, 2019

Group B Strep Prep

When and Why Pregnant Women Should be Tested

Sophia L. Thomas DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

If you’ve ever given birth, you were probably tested for Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a type of bacteria that can be passed from mother to baby during labor and delivery. Group B Strep is the leading cause of meningitis and bloodstream infections in newborns. There are roughly 2,000 cases and 50 fatalities a year, but antibiotics during delivery can prevent mom from passing GBS on to her new baby. Here’s what pregnant women need to know. 

  1. One in four pregnant women carry the GBS bacteria.
  2. All women should be tested for GBS between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  3. Women who test positive will need an antibiotic during delivery.
  4. Women who get the antibiotic only have a one in 4,000 chance of passing along the bacteria to her newborn.
  5. Women who don’t get the antibiotic have a one in 200 chance of delivering a baby with GBS.
  6. Antibiotics given too early won’t help during delivery, since the bacteria grows back quickly.

GBS usually doesn’t affect adults, but it can be life threatening for newborns, so make sure you’re tested before you deliver. A simple antibiotic can save your baby’s life!