Group B Streptococcus Screening Can Save Your Baby’s Life

Group B Streptococcus Screening
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What Is Group B Streptococcus Screening?

Group B Streptococcus or GBS are typical bacteria that inhabit a woman’s vagina, rectum, gastrointestinal tract or other areas in their proximity. However, it should be differentiated from the bacteria that trigger strep throat (Group A Strep). As a matter of fact, GBS bacteria present no danger for the career woman. However, the infection might impose challenges once the woman gets pregnant. This infection can be passed on to the baby during childbirth or even when in the womb. And it is likely that 1%-2% of babies afflicted by Group B Streptococcus can develop from mild to severe cases of infection, sometimes leading to death. A GBS screening during pregnancy is highly endorsed. The most common and efficient treatment both for women during pregnancy and their babies after childbirth is the prescription of antibiotics.

How Can GBS Be Found Out?

The majority of women don’t know they have Group B Streptococcus. If GBS are present in the woman’s, then it is considered that the woman is positive GBS colonized. Health care practitioners advise pregnant women to take a test to figure out if there is a risk of it affecting their future babies. A GBS screening is recommended to be done during the 35/37 week of pregnancy. However, if the woman is not GBS positive but has had kidney infections in the past, preventing a possible GBS infection in their babies is a must.

GBS Causes

The screening consists of an interior check-up of the vagina and rectum, and the results are usually available within 24 hours. If the woman shows any risk factors, then she is recommended to take a particular type of antibiotic before the screening for clearer results.

Why GBS Has To Be Tested?

During the childbirth process, or more exactly when the baby goes through the vagina canal, the GBS can stick to the baby. Since it doesn’t affect the mother at all, it surely can dramatically affect her newborn baby. The majority of infants don’t experience any GBS infection. However, there are instances when the infant can develop very serious health conditions that can affect his brain, lungs, blood and more. A GBS infection can also cause death in infants. That is the key reason; it is of huge importance to perform a GBS screening during pregnancy to make sure that your baby will not be affected by this infection at all. The health care practitioner will normally require a set of screenings during your entire pregnancy to keep track of your level of Group B Streptococcus.

GBS Has To Be Tested

What Are The Consequences Of An Early Onset Of GBS?

There are two main kinds of GBS infection in infants – early onset and late onset. These two present high risks, however, an early onset can lead to much more aggravating consequences and is spread way more often in infants. Early onset symptoms of GBS infection usually develop as early as in the first hours after childbirth or sometimes during the first week. Some most common symptoms are problems breathing, poor condition of kidneys and gastrointestinal tract, pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, lethargy, abnormal heart rate and even more. Intravenous antibiotics are administered to infants as soon as they develop any of these signs.

Must Watch – Group B Strep

Final Verdict

An on-time GBS screening can save you lots of headaches after giving birth to your child. It is essential to understand that during pregnancy you have to make sure you are doing everything to keep your future baby safe from any health conditions he might develop during childbirth. Especially if you are GBS positive, you need regular GBS screenings to be sure you don’t transmit to your baby your high level of Group B Streptococcus bacteria. A GBS screening can recognize if there is a health risk factor for your unborn child. If the screening shows it, then you will have to take antibiotics during your pregnancy. If your condition doesn’t allow any required antibiotics, your doctor will closely watch your case and provide you with the most suitable treatment plan for you. A preventive treatment during pregnancy and labor is 90% efficient in combating the early onset of GBS in infants.

Many times, women don’t agree to start an antibiotic treatment during pregnancy. They are afraid to harm their unborn child. Nevertheless, the importance of antibiotics in preventing GBS in children should not be underestimated. While mild cases of GBS infection can be treated with homeopathy or herbs, some more serious conditions must be treated with antibiotics for sure. Basically, it is up to you to make the right decision for you and your baby. But never underestimate the huge medical progress that, today, can eradicate the majority of conditions and diseases that were never thought to be treatable in the past.

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Author

Expert Author : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.