What is Group B Strepcoccus (GBS)?

I was supposed to finish this post before I delivered, but lil lady came a bit early and very quickly, but I wanted to post it anyway b/c it’s an important topic that I think everyone should be aware of.

Went to the OBGYN for my weekly appointment a few weeks ago. Nothing particularly special, but received results from my culture test from two weeks ago. And unfortunately I’m tested positive for Group B Strepcoccus aka GBS.

So what is it?
Basically, it’s bacteria that you can carry in your system that usually resides in your intestines or lower genital tract. Approximately 25% of all healthy women carry group B strep bacteria. The bacteria can pass to the newborn during a vaginal birth via your delivery canal. The longer the baby remains in the canal the more time that allows the bacteria to pass. If you’re having a Cesarean birth, it won’t affect your baby since the baby won’t be passing through your  vaginal canal. It is NOT the same strand of strep that would cause strep throat.

How did I get it?
I don’t have the answer to this question. I’ve asked my OBGYN, a friend who’s a nurse & a pediatric nurse. They all said the same thing. It’s not like a virus you pick up. It’s just something that can naturally develop. But, you should discuss GBS with your doctor. Especially if they notify you that you tested positive for it. That way you have a plan with your OBG on precautions during labor to prevent transmitting it to your newborn.

Why don’t they test me sooner?
They say the bacteria can come and go during pregnancy. So it’s best to test within five weeks of your due date for the most accuracy.

What now?
If you’re a healthy adult, there’s nothing to worry about. If you have health issues, things can be complicated, but again, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Once you’re in labor, your delivery team will hook you up to an IV for antibiotics for at least four hours prior to delivering. This is in an effort to kill the bacteria & minimize the chances of it transmitting to your baby during vaginal delivery.

What happens to the baby after birth?
They’ll check your newborn for the bacteria via bloodwork & monitor the baby for symptoms the first 48 hours after birth. If the baby shows symptoms the doctors will see them within an hour of birth or blood cultures come positive, your newborn will be given antibiotics and may or may not need to stay in the hospital for a few addition days. Without the proper antibiotics GBS MAY cause stillbirth and serious infections in babies.

More Resources
If you want more information about Group B Strepcoccus, read about it here:

But, ultimately, every OBG will complete the test for you between 35-37 weeks of your pregnancy. If you’re positive, your OBGYN will discuss the results with you & a delivery plan of action which could include a scheduled induction for a vaginal delivery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *