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Professional Birth & Postpartum Doula
Cindy lou Burgess C.D. & C.B.E.

Specializing in all birth options and covering all of Connecticut

Benefits of using a Doula
Group B Strep during pregnancy

Between your 35 and 37th weeks of pregnancy you will be tested for Group B strep or GBS. Group B Strep is a type of bacteria that one to three women carry in their vagina. These bacteria, though benign to women in general, may pose serious and potentially life threatening consequences for your baby during birth. However, with proper screening women who test positive will be treated with an antibiotic during labor to prevent passing these bacteria on to their baby.

Most women who test positive for Group B Strep or GBS will deliver a normal and healthy baby. Without adequate diagnosis and treatment however, babies exposed to Group B Strep during the birthing process may face potentially life threatening side effects.

The Science Behind Group B Strep
Group B Strep or GBS is a bacteria commonly found in the bowel, vagina and bladder. Usually it causes no symptoms at all, and people that carry these bacteria generally do so on a temporary basis.

Most women if tested consistently would probably come up positive as a carrier of Group B Strep or GBS at one point or another during their life. The only time Group B Strep is typically problematic is during pregnancy.

In rare cases Group B Strep or GBS may cause bladder or womb infections in a pregnant mother. It can infect the fetus before or during the birth process, though infection is rare.

Babies infected with Group B Strep or GBS may go on to develop pneumonia or even meningitis. Others may have long term problems such as hearing or vision loss during their lifetime.

In some infants Group B Strep or GBS doesn't develop until a week or more after delivery. This is an even more rare occurrence however than infection and detection immediately following delivery.

Routine Testing
Most women who test positive for Group B Strep or GBS will be treated during labor with an antibiotic such as penicillin. A positive culture does not mean a baby will become ill. It simply indicates that the mother is a carrier for Group B Strep.

Treatment with antibiotics is usually administered in the following situations:
-  Mother experiences preterm labor, defined as labor occurring before 37 weeks gestation.
-  Fetal membranes are prematurely ruptured which may increase the risk that GBS
   will travel up through the cervix.
-  Mother exhibits fever during labor.
-  Mother gave birth to child with previous GBS infection.
-  Treating women for Group B Strep or GBS does not necessarily remove the bacteria
   from the woman's system but may help prevent infection of the newborn infant.

Most physicians will give antibiotics to all women who haven't had a culture prior to labor or whose results aren't available when labor commences.

Your doctor will typically have the results of your GBS test available within 24-48 hours of testing. If you have any additional concerns about GBS, it is important you consult with your physician so you go into labor armed with information and knowledge rather than fear.

Remember that infection in babies with Group B Strep or GBS is very rare. Your chances of delivery of a healthy baby even if diagnosed positive are very good.

Dr James W.Brann M.D.