Group B Streptococcus (Group B Strep, Strep B, Beta Strep, or GBS) is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines, rectum and vagina of around 2-4 in every 10 women in the UK (20-40%). This is often referred to as ‘carrying’ or being ‘colonised with’ GBS.
Group B Strep is not a sexually transmitted disease. Most women carrying GBS will have no symptoms. Carrying GBS is not harmful to you, but it can affect your baby around the time of birth.
GBS can occasionally cause serious infections in young babies and, very rarely, during pregnancy before labour.
- Group B Strep is one of the many bacteria that normally live in our bodies and which usually cause no harm
- Testing for GBS is not routinely offered to all pregnant women in the UK
- If you carry GBS, most of the time your baby will be born safely and will not develop an infection. However, it can rarely cause serious infection such as sepsis, pneumonia or meningitis
- Most early-onset GBS infections (those developing in the first week of life) are preventable
- If GBS is found in your urine, vagina or rectum (bowel) during your current pregnancy, or if you have previously had a baby affected by GBS infection, you should be offered antibiotics in labour to reduce the small risk of this infection to your baby.
- If GBS was found in a previous pregnancy and your baby was unaffected, you can have a specific swab test (known as the ECM test) to see whether you are carrying GBS when you are 35-37 weeks pregnant. If the test result is positive, you will be offered antibiotics in labour. If the ECM test result is negative at this point, then the risk of your baby developing early-onset GBS infection is low and you may choose not to have antibiotics.
- The risk of your baby becoming unwell with GBS infection is increased if your baby is born preterm, if you have a temperature while you are in labour, or if your waters break before you go into labour
- If your newborn baby develops signs of GBS infection, they should be treated with antibiotics straight away
Source and Credit: https://gbss.org.uk/info-support/about-group-b-strep/what-is-group-b-strep/