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Group B Streptococcus (GBS): Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

There is nothing to be worried about GBS

Group B Streptococcus (GBS): symptoms, diagnosis and treatment Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a group of bacteria (one of many) that lives inside our bodies. Nearly 33% adults have these bacteria in their intestines and almost 25% of adult women carry these bacteria inside their vaginas. Most of us are unaware of this fact as these bacteria cause no health problems and we do not have any symptoms of their presence. It is because in some instances harm to new born babies is caused by these bacteria that they become important to be checked during pregnancy. Also called Strep B 2, strep symptoms are rarely seen and known. But strep B in pregnancy has become important for doctors as they now know how it can harm the new born baby. Apart from serious illnesses, Group B Streptococcus has, in rare cases, caused death to the new born baby.

No routine testing for GBS as it normally lives inside the vagina of expecting mothers

Normally women are not tested for the presence of Group B Streptococcus during their pregnancies because there are no associated health problems for the mother or the baby. There is a simple test to detect the presence of Strep B 2, but even this test reveals only about 50% of the carriers. This is the reason why it is important for expecting mothers to know about the symptoms of DBS infection in babies and when they are more likely to catch the infection from this group of bacteria. Strep B pregnancy is today a topic that most women are discussing with their doctors during their pregnancy.

The infection can be easily passed to the baby

As Strep B 2 bacteria lives inside vagina, it is easy for it to be passed on to the new born baby during labor and birth. Despite the fact that all babies are exposed to the dangers of strep bacteria, why only some catch the infection while others don’t is still not clear. What is clear is that even this small percentage of babies catching this bacterial infection can be prevented from catching the infection if mothers are treated with antibiotics before the onset of labor pains. It may seem like a good idea to go for caesarian operation to prevent the baby from catching the strep B infection but the fact is that caesarian deliveries are also not free from this infection. Group B strep pregnancy is normal but doctors want to make sure the infection does not get passed on to the new born baby.

Fortunately, there is a simple antibiotic treatment of GBS

Though streptococcus bacteria can be passed sexually, doctors do not consider it to be a sexually transmitted disease. Knowing how harmful streptococcus bacteria can become potentially for the new born baby, it is prudent to be tested for the chances of passing on this infection to the baby during pregnancy, labor, or child birth. If you are found to be GBS positive, there is nothing to worry as doctors can provide antibiotic treatment during labor to eliminate the chance of your baby from catching the infection.

Doctors look for strep B symptoms to make sure the mother is GBS positive

Colonized mothers, so called as they test GBS positive, can technically pass on group B strep infection to their babies. However, it is heartening to note that only about 1 in 2000 babies is affected by strep B infection. This implies that even a mother tests positive for GBS, there is very little chance of her baby catching this bacterial infection. Despite being a rare infection, doctors try to treat every woman who tests GBS positive during pregnancy as an endeavor to safeguard the health of the new born baby. So, whether or not there are any strep symptoms, all expecting mothers are routinely tested for GBS between 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. Research has shown that testing for GBS within 5 weeks of delivery is the most accurate for telling the exact status of GBS. Knowing that there are nearly a quarter of women carrying group B bacteria, strep symptoms are rarely seen in pregnant women. However, doctors have tried to correlate some incidents and the chances of the baby catching strep B infection, and these include fever during labor, rupturing of membrane 18 hours before delivery, a urinary tract infection tasking place due to GBS during pregnancy, and so on. By the way, to know how to calculate due date and delivery time just visit our due date calculator page. These are taken to be strep symptoms and doctors decide to give antibiotics to these expecting mothers to make sure the new born baby does not catch the infection.

Left untreated, it can prove fatal

Talking of strep B symptoms, the rare instances where babies catch this infection have been seen to carry breathing problems, heart and blood pressure instability, kidney and gastrointestinal problems, and so on.