healthy pregnancy, pregnancy

Group B streptococcus during pregnancy

Group B streptococcus, otherwise known as Group B streptococcus or GBS, is a type of bacteria that many people unknowingly have on their bodies. GBS does not usually cause any serious illness in adults. However, if you have a positive GBS test result during pregnancy, the bacteria can be passed to your baby in the event of a vaginal delivery. Your doctor will treat GBS during labor to prevent your baby from developing GBS.

Read on to learn more about GBS, group B symptoms in infants, and treatment during pregnancy.

What is GBS?

GBS is a bacterium most commonly found in adults and does not usually cause disease or health problems. It can be found in the urinary tract, digestive system, and reproductive system. Most people don’t even know they have it.

About 25 percent of mothers carry GBS. GBS can cause urinary tract infections or infections of the placenta, uterus, and amniotic fluid in pregnant women.

Pregnant mothers are routinely tested for GBS during pregnancy because, in some cases, GBS can cause an infection that can be passed from a mother to her baby during vaginal delivery.

How are group B bacteria contracted

Experts aren’t sure how group B streptococcus spreads among adults, because it is not sexually transmitted, nor is it spread through food or water. This type of bacteria appears to be naturally circulating.

Even healthy people can carry GBS bacteria. You may hold it in your body for a short time or permanently.

Having GBS generally does no harm and will not make you feel ill or even lead to any symptoms. In some cases, bacteria may invade your body, causing an infection, which is then known as GBS. This is usually treated with antibiotic

Testing for group B bacteria during pregnancy

As part of routine testing during pregnancy, a test for GBS will be performed in the third trimester usually between 36 and 38 weeks of gestation

Your doctor will take a sample from your vagina and rectum and send it to a laboratory for examination. After a few days, the results will show whether you are carrying the bacteria or not.

Treatment for group B bacteria: antibiotics

Being a positive test result does not mean that your newborn will be at risk of developing it. If your test results are positive, your doctor will likely give you intravenous antibiotics during labour. This can reduce the chance of passing bacteria to your baby if you had a vaginal delivery.

Keep in mind that the treatment is ineffective if it is given long before your baby is born because bacteria can grow again. To be effective, antibiotics must be given during labor, ideally for at least four hours before delivery.

Antibiotic treatment is generally not needed if you had a caesarean section. However, it can be taken if labor begins before the scheduled surgery date.

It is important to know that the antibiotics you receive during labor can help prevent early GBS in your baby, but not late GBS.

The cause or causes of late-onset GBS are not fully understood. That’s why it’s important to monitor your child’s GBS symptoms and tell your child’s doctor right away if you see any of the signs.

How group B bacteria can affect your baby

If you have group B streptococcus and delivered your baby vaginally, your newborn may contract it as it moves through the birth canal. There is a small chance that your baby will become seriously ill from bacteria, which is why it is important to get treatment for GBS (in the form of antibiotics during labour) if the test result is positive during pregnancy.

Group B bacteria types in children

There are two possible types of GBS infection in children:

• Early infection: This means that your baby will be infected at birth. Symptoms may begin to appear within 12 to 48 hours.

•Delayed infection: This means that your baby will be infected a week to a few months after birth.

Group B bacteria symptoms in your child

If your newborn or infant has GBS, you may notice the following symptoms:

• Fever

• Undernutrition

• Difficulty breathing

• Idle

• bluish skin tone.

If you notice any of these symptoms, tell your child’s doctor right away.

GBS infection may lead to a more serious problem in newborns, such as:

• Inflammation of the lungs

• Bacteremia – an infection in the bloodstream

• The body’s ultimate response to infection

• Meningitis – an infection of the membranes and fluid around the brain and spine.

Your child’s doctor will be able to diagnose and treat these conditions.

Treatment of group B germs in children

If your child is diagnosed with GBS early or late, your child’s doctor will administer antibiotics right away. Your child may also be given oxygen and intravenous fluids.

Factors that increase your child’s risk of group B streptococcus

There is an increased risk of your child developing GBS if:

• You have GBS in your body

If your water broke out 18 hours or more before the actual delivery

• You have an infection of the placenta or amniotic fluid

• Presence of bacteria in the urine during this or previous pregnancy

• Your temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit during labor

• You have previously given birth to a child with GBS.

How do we prevent GBS infection?

GBS is a common bacteria that spreads to most of the body. Therefore, a test for GBS should be done during each period of pregnancy. If your test result is positive, make sure you take the antibiotics in time during labour.

If you have GBS and your labor begins, go to the hospital immediately. It’s important to get IV antibiotics at least 4 hours before birth to help protect your baby from early onset of GBS.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do group B bacteria disappear?

In adults, group B streptococcus bacteria may come and go naturally, which means you may have had it at some point, and no longer have it. If it does develop an infection, or if your child develops an infection after exposure, your doctor will treat GBS with antibiotics.

2. Can group B bacteria be treated?

GBS infection in both adults and children can be treated with antibiotics.

3. What happens if I test positive for group B bacteria?

If you test positive for GBS, your doctor may give you intravenous antibiotics during labour. This can reduce the chance of passing bacteria to your baby during a vaginal delivery. You may not need antibiotic treatment if you had a cesarean delivery.

4. What can group B streptococcus do to a baby?

If your newborn or infant has GBS, you may notice the following symptoms:

• Fever

• Undernourishment

• Difficulty breathing

• Irritability or lethargy

• bluish skin tone

If you find out that you carry GBS, keep in mind that about 25 percent of mothers carry the bacteria. Your doctor knows what steps to take to help prevent your child from contracting these bacteria. You are in good hands!

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