Group B Streptococcus (GBS for short) is a very serious bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This form of strep is not to be confused with “type A” strep, which is the type of strep normally associated with strep throat. Group B Strep is very serious, and it is the most common cause of meningitis and sepsis in newborns during their first week of life. Group B Strep is transmitted from the mother to the baby by direct contact with the bacteria while in the womb or during labor and delivery. Today we are going to touch on Group B Strep a little more so that you can be informed about it. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
There are several different serious symptoms associated with Group B Strep. Some newborns develop symptoms of Group B Strep within the first 24 hours of life. This is known as early onset Group B Strep. Other newborns might not show symptoms until after the first week of life, and this is known as late onset Group B Strep.
The symptoms of both types include seizures, bluish tint to skin, fever, unusual grunting sounds or breathing problems, limpness or stiffness, heart or blood pressure problems, extreme fussiness, pneumonia, meningitis, or sepsis. As you can see, Group B Strep is definitely a serious illness for babies who are infected with it.
If a baby is suspected to have Group B Strep, tests will have to be done on the suspected Group B Strep bacteria to make a definitive diagnosis as to confirm that GBS is the problem. Doctors can use blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid to get a sample of the suspected GBS bacteria.
If meningitis is suspected, doctors may need to do a spinal tap, and a chest xray might be needed if pneumonia is suspected as well. Once doctors get a sample of the suspected GBS bacteria, it is usually easy for them to determine if GBS is the problem or not.
Some women test positive for GBS bacteria during their pregnancy, and already know that it is a potential problem beforehand. These women should be given IV antibiotics during labor and before delivery. It is very important that the antibiotics be started before the baby reaches the birth canal to minimize the risk to the baby.
If a woman develops preterm labor, or is still has not had the baby 18 hours after her water has broken. They should also have antibiotics if they develop a fever during labor. Usually, if antibiotics are given before the baby reaches the birth canal, the risk of the baby developing GBS is minimal.
If no antibiotics are given and the baby develops GBS, it can cause sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia and even stillbirth. GBS is a very serious infection for babies to develop, and doctors and researchers are currently hard at work on developing a vaccine to help prevent this sort of infection.