What Is Group B Streptococcus?
Group B strep (GBS) is a sort of bacteria that lots of people harbor in their digestive tract systems. The bacteria might likewise populate (or “colonize”) your vagina as well, and be handed down to your baby during labor and birth.
Around 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women bring GBS in the vaginal area or rectum or surrounding area. While GBS is generally harmless in healthy grownups, it might cause stillbirth and serious infections in infants.
Sexual transmission of group B strep is possible, however group B strep is not considered a sexually transmitted infection due to the fact that your genital area might be colonized by bacteria you carry in your very own gastrointestinal tract. It’s likewise not the like group A strep, the bacteria that typically cause strep throat.
Why Do I Have to Be Evaluated for Group B Strep?
Getting evaluated for GBS late in pregnancy– and getting antibiotic treatment during labor if you’re a carrier– considerably minimizes your baby’s risk of ending up being infected.
For this factor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advise that all pregnant women– with 2 exceptions– regularly be screened for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks. (The two exceptions are women who have actually formerly had a baby with a GBS disease or who have actually had a urinary tract infection caused by GBS during their existing pregnancy. These women don’t have to be screened because they’re currently considered at high risk and will be automatically dealt with during labor.)
Before pregnant women were consistently screened and dealt with, approximately 2 to 3 children per 1,000 live births experienced what’s know as early-onset GBS disease, a dangerous disease that appears in the first week of life (usually in the first 24 hours after birth). Now, there are about 0.35 cases per 1,000 live births.
What Are the Repercussions of Early-onset GBS Disease?
Early-onset GBS disease can cause sepsis (an infection in the blood), pneumonia, and, less frequently, meningitis. A few of these children, particularly those with meningitis, will have long-term health issue such as hearing or vision loss, cerebral palsy, or developmental disabilities, and about 5 percent won’t survive.
Preterm babies have a lower survival rate than full-term babies, and those who make it through are at greater risk for long-lasting issues from the disease.
Why Not Screen Me for GBS at My First Prenatal Visit and Treat Me Right Away if I Test Favorable?
The test isn’t done up until late in your pregnancy because the bacteria can reoccur. So the outcome of an early vaginal or rectal culture is not an excellent predictor of whether or not your genital area will be colonized when you give birth.
You might be negative at one point during pregnancy and colonized by the time you enter into labor, or vice versa. For the very same reason, you need to be evaluated during each pregnancy.
Similarly, taking antibiotics before you go into labor does not avoid your genital area from becoming colonized again, so– unlike treatment during labor– it does not minimize the risk of transferring the infection to your baby.
Nevertheless, if you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by GBS during pregnancy, you’ll be treated with oral antibiotics right away and have a repeat urine culture done after treatment to make sure the infection is gone, just as you would for any UTI during pregnancy.
Although oral antibiotics will take care of the bacteria in your urinary tract, some bacteria may stay in your genital tract or return there later. Having GBS in your urine is a sign that you have a great deal of it in your genital tract, so you’ll instantly be given IV antibiotics during labor.
What Is the Test Like?
Your practitioner swabs the lower end of your vaginal area and your anus (this isn’t really painful) and sends the swabs to a lab to be grown in a culture that will determine whether GBS bacteria is present. Your results should be available in 2 to 3 days, and your practitioner will provide to you at your next prenatal visit. If she does not inform you, make sure to ask.
You may have found out about GBS tests that can be done during labor and delivery in some health centers, with results offered within an hour approximately. However the quick tests are not as sensitive as those that allow time for the GBS to breed. So at the present time, the CDC, ACOG, and AAP all still recommend screening at 35 to 37 weeks.
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