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|Posted on July 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM|
“Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This bacteria is normally found in the vagina and/or rectum of about 25 % of all healthy, adult women.
Those women who test positive for GBS are said to be colonized. A mother can pass GBS to her baby during delivery. GBS is responsible for affecting about 1 in every 2,000 babies in the United States. Not every baby who is born to a mother who tests positive for GBS will become ill.
Although GBS is rare in pregnant women, the outcome can be severe, and therefore physicians include testing as a routine part of prenatal care.”
Testing involves a swab culture from the vaginal and the rectal areas. The sample is sent to a lab for analysis. Your care provider will probably get the results within 24-48 hours. It may be a good idea to clarify how you will be notified of your test results so that you know how to proceed with your birth plan.
Since the effects of GBS can be so devastating to newborns, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women be routinely screened for vaginal group B strep. The test is usually done between 35 and 37 weeks gestation, as per studies that have shown that testing within 5 weeks of delivery date is the most accurate at predicting the state of GBS colonization on the estimated due date.
*History: why was it developed?
The goal of testing was to decrease the infant mortality rate due to a Group B Strep infection. The practice of routine testing stems from the idea that if colonized and/or high risk women were identified in pregnancy, potentially life-saving antibiotics could be administered to the mother during labor and delivery to lower the probability that the newborn would become infected and potentially develop life-threatening complications.
What was it supposed to treat?
"Among babies, there are 2 main types of group B strep disease:
Early-onset disease used to be the most common type of disease in babies. Today, because of effective early-onset disease prevention, early and late-onset disease occur at similar low rates.
For early-onset disease, group B strep most commonly causes sepsis (infection of the blood),pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and sometimes meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain). Similar illnesses are associated with late-onset group B strep disease. Meningitis is more common with late-onset group B strep disease than with early-onset group B strep disease.
For both early and late-onset group B strep disease, and particularly for babies who had meningitis, there may be long-term consequences of the group B strep infection such as deafness and developmental disabilities. Care for sick babies has improved a lot and in the U.S., only 4-6% of babies with group B strep infections die.
On average, about 1,200 babies in the U.S. less than one week old get early-onset group B strep disease each year (see ABCs website for more surveillance information), with rates of group B strep disease higher among blacks. Group B strep can also cause some miscarriages, stillbirths and preterm deliveries. There are many different factors that lead to stillbirth, pre-term delivery, or miscarriage. Most of the time, the cause is not known."
Has it been effective:
have infant outcomes improved because of the test and/or antibiotic use?
Abstract of study done by Boyer KM, Gotoff SP. Prevention of early-onset neonatal group B streptococcal disease with selective intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. N Engl J Med. 1986 Jun 26;314(26):1665-9.
And this information as it relates to premature births from Medscape.com:
*Pros of GBS Testing
Cons of GBS Testing
Alternative Strategies – Two sides of the proverbial coin!
From CDC: Alternative Prevention Strategies
From MedScape (2006 study):
From PubMed (2009 study):
*Links to explore
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.
Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this
blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.