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What Is Group B Strep (GBS) & How Does It Affect Labor?

Learn what you need to know about Group B Strep (GBS) and labor and delivery from childbirth expert Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach in this Howcast video.


So, what is Group B Strep? Group B Streptococcus or Beta Strep is a bacteria that can be found in about 1 out of 5 women's bodies. Not all bacteria is bad and not all bacteria is harmful to our bodies. Group B Strep is found in about 1 out of 5 women's vaginal bacteria make up. Normally there are no symptoms. However, this bacteria can be very significant for a pregnant woman. Sometimes, Group B Strep can cause Urinary Tract Infections or infections in the placenta. Of the 15 to 20% of women who test positive for Group B Strep, about half of those babies will be born with this bacterial present. This does not mean that these babies will become ill. 98% of babies born do not become infected. When this does occur and infection takes place, it can become fatal. So, this is definitely something to speak with your care provider about and to be tested for. Usually Group B Strep testing is done between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. Group B Strep is treated through antibiotics given every four hours after your water breaks. Usually they can give you the antibiotics in two rounds before your water breaks to make sure that your baby gets the antibiotics that are needed. One thing to keep in mind if you do test positive for Group B Strep is to let your care provided know that you would like to have the antibiotic and then have the possibility of leaving the hospital until the next round of antibiotics is needed. Usually, there is about a four hour time window in between that time. And so, what you want to ask is if you can have the option of leaving the hospital or walking around the hall or getting something to eat if your labor has not yet started. And these are some facts about Group B Strep.

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