CDC Speaks on Group B Strep and why it is important for mothers to be

Group B Strep

Group B Streptococcus (group B strep, GBS) is a type of bacteria that causes illness in people of all ages. It is the most common cause of some life-threatening infections in newborns, CDC’s guidelines recommend that a pregnant woman be tested, or screened, for group B strep in her vagina and rectum when she is 35 to 37 weeks pregnant. The test is simple and does not hurt. A sterile swab (“Q-tip”) is used to collect a sample from the vagina and the rectum. This is sent to a laboratory for testing.


About 25% of pregnant women carry group B strep in the rectum or vagina. Those women are considered group B strep positive. A woman may test positive at certain times and not at others. That’s why it’s important for all pregnant women to be tested for group B strep between 35 to 37 weeks of every pregnancy. A woman who has the bacteria in her body usually does not feel sick or have any symptoms. However, she is at higher risk for passing group B strep to her baby during birth.

Women should talk to their doctor about their group B strep status and if you are pregnant or know anyone who is ,she needs  to know about group B strep. About a quarter of all women carry the bacteria that cause group B strep infection. Group B strep bacteria are usually not harmful to you and won’t make the people around you sick. But these bacteria can be very dangerous for your newborn. Babies can get very sick and even die if their mothers pass group B strep bacteria to them during childbirth. That’s why it’s so important for you to get tested for group B strep each time you get pregnant.

CCD guidelines recommend that woman should ask their healthcare provider for a group B strep test when they are 35–37 weeks pregnant. In a situation where the test shows that you carry the bacteria, penicillin or other antibiotics should be given. And peradventure you go into labor before you are tested for group B strep, ask your healthcare provider to give you antibiotics because of the risk of spreading group B strep to your newborn.

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