February 9, 2011


GBS = Group B Streptococcus

*achtung ~ general knowledge post.. might be boring.. :)

What is GBS?

Group B strep (GBS) is a kind of bacteria that many people harbor in their intestinal tract. The bacteria may also inhabit (or "colonize") your vagina as well, where it can be passed on to your baby during labor and birth. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women carry GBS in the vagina or rectum or surrounding area. While GBS is generally harmless in healthy adults, it may cause stillbirth and serious infections in babies. During birth as the baby passes through the vagina it comes into contact with the bacteria, making it more likely for the baby to get GBS. To prevent this from happening women who test positive or who have had a previous baby with Group B Strep will be given IV antibiotics during labor.

Why do I need to be tested for group B strep?

Getting screened for GBS late in pregnancy – and receiving treatment with antibiotics during labor if you're a carrier – will greatly reduce your baby's risk of becoming infected. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that all pregnant women – with two exceptions – be routinely screened for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks.

The two exceptions: 

- women who have previously had a baby with a GBS disease

- those who have had a urinary tract infection caused by GBS during their current pregnancy.

These women don't need to be screened because they're already considered at high risk and will automatically be treated during labor.

What are the consequences of early-onset GBS disease?

Early-onset GBS disease can cause sepsis (an infection in the blood), pneumonia, and, less frequently, meningitis. Some of these babies, particularly those with meningitis, will have long-term health problems such as hearing or vision loss, cerebral palsy, or developmental disabilities, and about 5 percent won't survive. 

What is the test like?

Your practitioner will swab the lower end of your vagina and your rectum (this won't be painful) and send the samples to a lab to be grown in a culture in order to determine whether GBS bacteria is present. Your results should be available in two to three days, and your practitioner will give them to you at your next prenatal appointment. If she doesn't tell you, be sure to ask.

What will happen if I test positive?

A positive result means only that you carry the bacteria – not that you or your baby will definitely become ill, even if you don't receive proper treatment. However, getting antibiotics during labor lowers the odds enormously. For example, if you're a GBS carrier with no other risk factors (you're at 37 weeks or more, don't have a fever, and your membranes haven't been ruptured long), your baby's odds of getting infected are about 1 in 200 without treatment and about 1 in 4,000 if you do get treated.

Treatment also reduces your own chances of developing a GBS infection (such as a uterine infection) during labor or after delivery, which can sometimes happen. If you're GBS-positive, you'll begin getting antibiotics as soon as your labor starts or your water breaks, whichever comes first. (The only case in which you wouldn't need treatment is if you have a planned cesarean section that takes place before your water breaks or you go into labor.)

Leonora's conclusion (with the support of gynae's opinion of course.. hehe)

- GBS can really do harm to your baby but it is preventable and treatable! :) So, if you don't know whether you have it or not, how to get treated isn't it?
- Most private hospitals do this culture test as a routine at your 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. Not others. So, ask for one!
- Mummy-to-be, equipped yourself with knowledge... remain calm... *yaaaa... easier said than done :P* prevent yourself from 'katak bawah tempurung punya people -"eh... org dulu2 takde pun wat ni.. ok jek baby diorg..." hmmm... again, facts and statistics speak for itself.. there are lots of unexplained death of infants before... please think... can GBS be one of them? do you wanna take the risk of passing this GBS to your baby? think people think... with your head! :)

cuba utk tidak men-cuakkan diri.. hehe...


  1. prevention is better than cure kan..

  2. kay... my test will be done next week.. hopefully not infected lor...

    maya... yep yep.. :) pekabo baby? :)