What is GBS?

Pregnancy is a wonderful experience for many. However, your body is going through a tremendous amount of changes which can sometimes lead to new health concerns. While most of these pose no serious threat, they must be kept in check to avoid complications later on. Group-B Streptococcus (GBS) is routinely tested in pregnant mothers for this reason.

What is GBS?

Bacteria called GBS are regularly found in the vaginal or anorectal flora. Usually, these bacteria do not cause any symptoms and often go unnoticed.

If you’re carrying GBS, you don’t need to worry since it’s harmless for you. However, it can sometimes lead to serious infections for babies. That’s why treating it on time is always safer. 

Why is it important to test for GBS?

While GBS may be harmless for the mother, it can harm the baby if they come into contact with the bacteria during delivery. GBS can cause serious infections in the newborn, including pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis. 

To avoid this, it is recommended that mothers get treated before labor if they are GBS positive.

How is GBS tested?

The testing process for Group-B Streptococcus (GBS) usually occurs during later pregnancy, at 35-37 weeks. It involves taking a swab from the lower vagina and the anus and sending it to the lab for culture. If you’re GBS positive, you’ll know in 3-6 days.

How does it affect the baby?

If GBS-positive mothers are treated with antibiotics during labor, their babies are usually safe. However, some babies can get infected. Premature babies are likely to get sick because their immune systems are less developed.

The two types of GBS disease in babies are:

  1. Early-onset infections: these happen during the first week of life, usually within 24 hours of birth.
  2. Late-onset infections: these develop weeks to months after birth

If you have any other questions or concerns surrounding GBS or other infections, feel free to ask your midwife at your next appointment or give us a call!