Group B Strep and Expecting Moms
What does strep have anything to do with expecting moms you think? Most of you hear ‘strep’ and, like me, think ‘sore throat’. Group B Strep (GBS) is absolutely NOT that. It has less to do with the throat and more to do with the, shall we say, exit. It’s found in the lower intestine and/or vagina 20-25% of healthy women (and men) though most won’t be affected in the least by the presence of this bacteria. Babies however, when exposed to this bacteria during childbirth, can sometimes develop what’s called Group B Strep Disease.
Is it Common?
It’s important to note that not all babies who are in contact with the bacteria during birth will develop Group B Strep Disease. The NHS cites that 1 in 1,750 births are affected whereas the CDC states that the number of babies with GBS born to mamas who tested positive but aren’t high risk are 1 in 200 if antibiotics are not given and 1 in 4000 if antibiotics are given.
Symptoms of Group B Strep Disease
Symptoms in babies, which can take a few hours to a few months to appear are fever, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and difficulty feeding. Rarely does this lead to lasting health problems or death.
As you might have surmised, the best way to deal with GBS is to check for it before birth and treat mom with antibiotics during delivery. The best offense is a good defense, as they say. Most health providers prescribe a test for this as a matter of routine.
If you are expecting and want to be sure, ask your gyno/midwife/health professional to order a GBS test between weeks 35-37.
More Opear articles for expecting mamas:
- Helpful Newborn Journal for tracking baby’s (and mama’s) progress
- Flu: Separating Fact from Fiction
- When Will I Feel Like Myself Again Postpartum? Here’s the Answer.
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