Strep B: Something for Women to Consider

What is Strep B?

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that is commonly found in the urinary tract and lower intestines. Although it sounds similar, it differs from Group A, the bacteria that causes strep throat. Group B mainly affects the intestines, urinary tracts and vagina, in women. About 1 in 4 pregnant women carry this bacteria. These women will need to take some additional preventative steps before and during labor. For newborns, the elderly, and others with some chronic conditions, it can cause severe illness. 

Group B Strep Disease Prevention

Most women are tested for Strep B during their third trimester. If you test positive, your doctor will most likely prescribe an antibiotic IV to be administered during labor to help prevent transmission. Some women have had disrupted prenatal care and may have missed early testing. If this has happened to you, please be proactive and request you be checked, as soon as possible.

Group B Strep Disease During Pregnancy

In rare cases, Strep B can cause complications during pregnancy. Chances for developing infections of the urinary tract, uterine lining, or blood are slightly elevated for women who have tested positive for GBS. Although this is unusual, any infections should be attended to immediately to prevent escalation. Most women will not be affected at all. 

Group B Strep Disease in Newborns

Illness usually presents within the first 24 hours of birth. However, some infants make it home with their mothers before symptoms manifest. Some of the symptoms might include:

  • Difficulty moving air or maintaining normal breathing patterns.
  • A yellow glow within the whites of the baby’s eye (jaundice).
  • Irritability for unknown reasons.
  • Extreme bouts of fatigue and sluggishness.
  • The inability or unwillingness to breastfeed from the mother.

More serious complications can include meningitis, seizures, pneumonia, and sepsis. If you see any of the signs of this illness in your newborn, please contact your pediatrician immediately. Early intervention can prevent more serious issues. If you are pregnant, and have not yet chosen a pediatrician yet, we’d love to speak with you. We have virtual consultations available. Give us a call, we’d love to serve your family.