Prenatal Screening for Group B Strep
July is International Group B Streptococcus Awareness Month. Yes, there is a special month just for group B strep! Why? Because group B strep (GBS) harms as many as 4.1 million babies each year. This campaign strives to prevent group B strep disease in babies during pregnancy and infancy.
According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 pregnant women carry GBS, the leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborns. The disease can infect babies during pregnancy and the first few months of life.
Not all babies exposed to GBS become infected, but those who become infected during pregnancy are at risk of being miscarried or born prematurely. Most infections occur as babies pass through the birthing canal. These newborns are in danger of illness, death or lifelong handicaps. Fortunately, screenings and antibiotics can help prevent this! During pregnancy, tell your doctor promptly if you experience symptoms of a urinary tract infection or vaginitis, as these can also be signs of GBS.
At NFLWC, we recommend and offer GBS screening at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider will take a swab of the vaginal/rectal area. If you test positive for GBS bacteria, we can provide IV antibiotics during your labor, which will help prevent bacterial transmission to your newborn during the birthing process. A measure of awareness and prevention can make huge difference for your baby's health! Learn more at www.groupbstrepinternational.org