Group B Strep, GBS, or Group B Streptococcus......What the heck is it? Should you be worried? Is it similar to strep throat? I remember during my first pregnancy when my doctor told me that between my 35th and 37th week of pregnancy I would be having a test done that checked for GBS, I had no idea what it was or what to expect. So what is Group B Strep exactly?
Group B Strep is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in your digestive tract and lower reproductive tracts of men and women. Having GBS does not mean that you aren't clean and it's not a sexually transmitted disease (even though it can be passed during sex) it usually does not cause any symptoms. In fact someone can be GBS positive even if they've never had sex.
Women are tested for this bacteria during pregnancy because even though it can have no affect on you it can cause the baby to become really ill (which can be passed during the process of delivery). I bet you are wondering how this test is done exactly? Your provider will perform the test by swabbing your vagina and rectal area. Yes I know, it wasn't really fun for me either and I'm sure it may not be fun for others. But it had to be done. If you test positive for this bacteria antibiotics are given (through a lovely IV every four hours) before you deliver. Keep in mind that every woman that tests positive for this bacteria will not deliver a baby that will get sick. However if it is passed to your tiny human there is a risk of breathing problems, sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, and blood pressure issues. These symptoms can occur within hours of delivery.
That's why this test is important. It's important to know whether you are positive or not to ensure that your baby is protected. So what if you aren't delivering your baby vaginally? What if you are having a c-section? Do you still need to have the antibiotics? If your water hasn't broken and you aren't actively in labor then you can hold off on the antibiotics, however if your water has broken and you are in labor, to be on the safe side providers usually wants you to have it.
And last but not least. No! It's Group B Strep and strep throat are not the same at all. Strep throat is transferred from person to person through coughs and sneezes.
So in a nutshell, this bacteria can be harmless for moms but pretty serious for your little one. Be sure to follow up with your provider if you have any concerns.
Until next time I'm sending you peace, love and light!
Certified Pregnancy Health Coach