Because you don’t have enough to worry about when you’re pregnant, July reminds us that Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a dangerous bacterial infection affecting about 1 in every 2,000 babies born in the United States. The bacteria itself is found in one-quarter of healthy women, but the bacterial infection can be passed along to the baby.

A simple swab test can tell you whether you’re infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this routine screening between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. If you test positive for GBS, it still doesn’t mean that your baby will be infected, but your doctor may recommend setting up an IV with antibiotics throughout labor and delivery to minimize the risk to the baby. In the most serious cases, GBS can cause the baby to have meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia, or it can result in stillbirth.

Signs that put you at high risk for GBS include:
*Labor or rupture of membrane before 37 weeks
*Rupture of membrane 18 hours or more before delivery
*Fever during labor
*A urinary tract infection as a result of GBS during your pregnancy
*A previous baby with GBS disease

Learn more at Group B Strep International.

July is International Group B Strep Awareness Month