Group beta strep aka GBS is an organism that naturally lives in the vaginas and/or rectums of roughly 25% of women. The organism does not cause any issues in the woman’s body. The potential risk comes about when a newborn is exposed to this group beta strep. Typically women are checked for GBS at about their 36th week of pregnancy. If positive, that woman is treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin (unless she is allergic) up to the time of vaginal delivery.
The test is conducted by swabbing the vagina and rectum. This swab is sent to a lab and once results are obtained, this information will be part of your prenatal record that will be sent to the hospital by your doctor’s office. Babies exposed to the bacteria can show signs of distress hours after delivery. These include breathing problems, heart and blood pressure instability, infection and even meningitis. This test is quick, easy and can protect your baby against these very dangerous complications so why not ensure that you have it done. It is a tiny measure that means a lot to the well being of your baby.