Group B Strep

While you’re in the midst of checking off those last-minute nursery items, don’t forget one task that could be crucial to your baby’s health: your screening for group B strep.

Group B strep lives quietly in the bodies of almost a quarter of pregnant women, often producing no symptoms. Most women aren’t even aware that they’re carriers of this naturally occurring bacteria, but it can have nasty consequences for unborn babies. Group B strep is one of the leading causes of blood infection and meningitis in newborns.

To help keep your baby safe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you have a group B strep test performed between weeks 35 and 37 of your pregnancy. It’s a simple swab test that’s usually part of your prenatal care, but be sure to follow up for your results.

If you do test positive for group B strep, don’t panic! It’s easily treatable by administering IV antibiotics (usually penicillin) during delivery. With this treatment, only 1 in 4000 infants of group B strep-positive mothers develop the disease themselves.

Things to Remember about Group B Strep:

· Have your group B strep screening between your 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy.

· Be sure to tell your health care provider about any antibiotic allergies you have.

· If you do test positive for group B strep, remind the labor and delivery staff at your hospital or birthing center that you’re a group B strep carrier, and tell them if you’re allergic to any antibiotics.

· The IV antibiotics work best if they’re administered at least 4 hours before delivery, so don’t cut it too close getting to the hospital.

· Smile and relax, and know you’re doing what’s best for your baby.