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Friday, December 3, 2010
Featured Condtion/Disease: Group B Strep
Group B strep (GBS) is a type of bacteria that is often found in the vagina and rectum of healthy women. In the United States, about 1 in 4 women carry this type of bacteria. Women of any race or ethnicity can carry these bacteria. Being a carrier for these bacteria does not mean you have an infection. It only means that you have group B strep bacteria in your body.
Finding the GBS bacteria does not mean that you are not clean, and it does not mean that you have a sexually transmitted disease. The bacteria are not spread from food, sex, water, or anything that you might have come into contact with. They can come and go naturally in the body.
GBS can be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
GBS is a leading cause of life-threatening infections in newborns, including pneumonia (lung infection), sepsis (blood infection), meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), and other problems. Sadly, many infants can die or have serious long-term effects from a GBS infection.
Preventing Group B Strep in New Borns
Ask your doctor or nurse for a GBS test when you are 35–37 weeks pregnant (in your 9th month). The test is an easy swab of the vagina and rectum that should not hurt.
Carrying GBS bacteria does not mean that you are not clean, and it does not mean that you have a sexually transmitted disease. The bacteria are not spread from food, sex, water, or anything that you might have come into contact with. They can come and go naturally in the body.
The medicine to stop GBS from spreading to your baby is an antibiotic given during labor. The antibiotic (usually penicillin) is given to you through an IV (in the vein) during childbirth. If you are allergic to penicillin, there are other ways to help treat you during labor.
Antibiotics taken before labor will not protect your baby against GBS. The bacteria can grow back so fast that taking the medicine before you begin labor does not prevent the bacteria from spreading to your baby during childbirth.
Other people in the house, including kids, are not at risk of getting sick from GBS. If you think you might have a C-section or go into labor early (prematurely), talk with your doctor or nurse about your personal GBS plan.
To get more information about Group B Strep and its prevention in New Born Infants, go here.