Group B Streptococcus (or more commonly referred to as GBS or Group B Strep) is a bacteria that is normally present in our bodies.
Around one fifth of women carry the bacteria without even knowing they have it.
In RARE cases GBS can cause serious illness and even death in newborn babies, but more commonly it will cause severe infection, which could lead to sepsis in newborns within the first week of birth.
Women are routinely tested now for GBS at 36 weeks by a vaginal swab (and sometimes an anal swab), but even if you test positive earlier in pregnancy you may test negative in future tests closer to your birth and vice versa.
If you do test positive for GBS your health care providers will recommend you have intravenous antibiotics during your labour to reduce the chances of your baby being exposed to GBS.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) predict your baby is more likely to develop a GBS infection if:
- You go into premature labour (before 37 weeks of pregnancy);
- Your waters break 18 hours or more before you have your baby;
- You have a raised temperature during labour;
- You have had a baby previously infected with GBS;
- You have been found to carry the GBS bacteria in your urine during your current pregnancy.
So that you can understand a lot more about GBS I have compiled a list of evidenced based links and articles and even some suggestions on what other women have done to reduce / eliminate the risk of testing positive for GBS.
This is purely to give you some guidance and provide you with quality information so that you can be informed and make the right choices for you when it comes to making decisions regarding GBS.
If you have other links that you feel could be added to this list please let me know so that I can share it with all women and their partners.