Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women, but it can also be a stressful period filled with uncertainty and concern. One common concern among pregnant women is Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection, which affects up to 30% of pregnant women. Since I had a personal experience with testing positive for GBS during pregnancy, I’m going to share why testing is essential, what the test entails, and how it is treated.
What is Group B Streptococcus?
GBS is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in the vagina or rectum of women. It is usually harmless and does not cause any symptoms. However, in some cases, GBS can cause serious infections in newborns, such as sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. GBS can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth, so it is important for pregnant women to be screened and treated if necessary.
Why is testing for GBS important?
Testing for GBS during pregnancy is important because it helps identify women who are at risk of passing the infection to their babies. Women who test positive for GBS can receive antibiotics during labor, which reduces the risk of their babies developing GBS-related infections.
What does the test entail?
The GBS test is a simple swab test that is usually done between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy. During the test, a healthcare provider will use a sterile swab to collect a sample of cells from the vagina and rectum. The sample is then sent to a lab for analysis. The results of the test are usually available within a few days.
Treatment for Group B strep
If a woman tests positive for GBS, she will be given antibiotics during labor to reduce the risk of passing the infection to her baby. Antibiotics are usually given through an intravenous (IV) drip, which is started when labor begins or when the water breaks. The antibiotics can be given before induction meds, as the antibiotics need time to take effect before the baby is born. The latter of which happened in my case.
It is important to note that even if a woman tests negative for GBS, she can still pass the infection to her baby during childbirth. Therefore, it is important for all pregnant women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of GBS-related infections in newborns, such as fever, breathing difficulties, lethargy, and poor feeding.
My Personal GBS Experience
During my last few weeks of pregnancy, I tested positive for GBS. Receiving the results was scary, but my OB/GYN reassured me that everything would be fine. However, there were some precautions I’d have to take to ensure the infection didn’t pass onto the baby. She stated that since we decided on induction, I would receive antibiotics prior to the induction medications because receiving antibiotics during labor significantly reduces the risk of passing the infection to your baby. When the nurse administered the antibiotics via the IV, I could immediately taste an unpleasant metallic taste in my mouth. While the taste of the antibiotics may not have been pleasant, it was a small inconvenience compared to the potential risks of GBS-related infection passed onto me newborn.
Group B Streptococcus is a common bacteria that can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth. Testing for GBS during pregnancy is important to identify women who are at risk of passing the infection to their babies. If a woman tests positive for GBS, she will be given antibiotics during labor to reduce the risk of GBS-related infections in her baby.
Remember, if you have any concerns about GBS or any other aspect of your pregnancy, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.