Group B Strep

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of newborn infections. This particular infection if it occurs in your infant can cause serious problems such as apnea, breathing difficulties, meningitis, seizures and even death. It is recommended that all pregnant women be screened for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks gestation. Based upon the results of this culture, your baby may be at an increased risk of acquiring GBS infection during delivery.

The majority of GBS infections in newborns occur within the first week of life. However, it can occur up to 3 months following birth. Illnesses caused by GBS include sepsis (infection in the bloodstream), pneumonia, bone infection and meningitis. It is critical that your pediatrician know whether you tested positive for GBS, even if you were not tested because you were positive during a previous pregnancy.

If you are having, or just had a cesarean section delivery (c-section) it is important to realize GBS disease can still occur. However, the risk is much lower as long as you have not also had fever during delivery or prolonged ruptured membranes. Therefore, you may or may not receive antibiotics despite testing GBS positive. Regardless, you should discuss GBS testing with your pediatrician.

If you have received antibiotics during deliver, and/or if you tested positive for GBS during your pregnancy your infant may be required to remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours. Some infants will also require specific blood tests shortly after delivery to help screen for GBS disease. If you have questions about Group B strep please ask your pediatrician.

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