Group B Strep Test
In the third trimester, screenings and procedures may be conducted to prepare one for the healthy and safe delivery of the baby. Amongst these procedures is a Group B Strep test. This third trimester screen is an important one, as 1-in-4 pregnant individuals carry the group B Strep bacteria in their body.
What Is Group Be Strep?
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that lives in the body. Contrary to what some may believe, it is not a sexually transmitted infection. This bacteria is found in the vaginal and rectal areas. Newborns are at increased risk for GBS if their carrier is positive. In the US, roughly 1-in-2,000 newborns are affected.
How Is The Group B Strep Test Done?
34-37 gestation, a Group B Strep test is conducted. This non-invasive procedure is done by a quick insertion and swipe with a cotton-swab into the vagina and the rectum. The sample is then tested and results are given within a 48-hour period.
What Do The Results Mean?
A positive result of GBS while not harmful to the gestational carrier, can be harmful for the newborn. Pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis are diseases that can occur within the first 48-hours after birth. The late-onsets of Group B Strep can be found if a gestational carrier is GBS positive, and no antibiotics or probiotics were given in labor. If the Group B Strep test is negative, there are no further precautions for GBS throughout labor. In the instance that the results of a GBS test are unknown, an IV may be given during labor for general precaution.
What To Expect During Labor?
During the onset of labor, your provider is going to want to administer an antibiotic. This antibiotic begins from admission, and then every 4 hours afterwards. Antibiotics are delivered via IV (intravenous). This is wise to know prior, because a hep-lock will be used as a port for the IV. Another option for care is to discuss with your provider the options of taking a probiotic. Lactobacilli is a probiotic that studies have shown to cease the growth of the Group B Strep bacteria in pregnancy.
Group B Streptococcus is a common bacteria found in the vagina and rectum. It is important to understand how the procedure is done, what the results mean, and how this will impact the labor and delivery process. While GBS can affect 1-in-200 babies delivered without the antibiotic administered, the risk decreases to 1-in-4000 with the usage of antibiotics during labor. Talk to your provider about your options, and get your questions and concerns answered.