Group B Strep Infection in Pregnancy
What is group B strep? Group B strep is a certain kind of bacteria (germ) that lives in the vaginal or rectal areas of 1 out of every 4 or 5 healthy pregnant women. A woman who has group B strep on her skin is said to be "colonized" with this germ. For every 100 colonized women with group B strep who have a baby, 1 or 2 babies are infected with these germs while they're being born and can get sick.
If I have group B strep, what could happen?
Carrying the bacteria in your body when you're pregnant doesn't make you sick. In some cases, though, group B strep germs can multiply inside your body and can cause serious infection. When you are pregnant and have group B strep, your baby could get the germs from you during delivery and get sick. Infected babies need treatment. Your baby will be kept in the hospital some extra days for close watching (observation) if your doctor thinks the baby is infected with strep. Blood tests will be done to see if your baby has group B strep. If your baby has this germ, the doctor will give the baby antibiotics.
How will I know I have group B strep?
Your doctor can do a skin culture to see if you have group B strep on your skin. Your doctor can also do a test on your vagina and rectum to see if it is inside your body. The test is like a Pap smear.
If I'm infected, what can I do?
Your doctor may have you take antibiotics during pregnancy until you give birth. Then, when you're in labor, you can also take antibiotics to kill the germs. If you take antibiotics while you're in labor, the chances are higher that your baby probably won't get this infection.