Group B strep screening
Why have Group B Strep screening?
Group B Streptococcus is the most common cause of life threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK. GBS is a common bacteria that can be found on our bodies which often doesn’t cause any harm. Approximately one in five pregnant women in the UK carries GBS in their vagina or digestive tract, during labour and birth many babies can come into contact with GBS and become colonised by the bacteria.
Most babies are unaffected however a small number can become infected during labour and birth. Rarely, GBS infections can cause serious complications that can become life threatening.
Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics intravenously (through a vein) at the start of labour to all women where GBS has been detected during their current pregnancy.
Without prophylactic antibiotics around 1 in 1000 babies in the UK would develop a GBS infection (approx 700 babies a year).
What we do..
The test is performed from 35 weeks gestation (ideally between 35-37 weeks) by taking two swabs, a low vaginal and rectal swab. The swabs are then sent to our designated lab for testing, who are also the designated lab for the Group B Strep support group.
After the test..
We receive the results electronically and contact you by phone with them usually 3-5 working days after the swabs have been taken. You will also receive a hard copy of the report in the post.
The results will come back as positive or negative, if negative no further follow up required and the report can go in your maternity notes. If your result is positive the lab report should be shown and discussed with your midwife or obstetrician and placed within your maternity notes.
UK guidelines recommend that when GBS is isolated in pregnancy intravenous antibiotics should be offered in labour which is highly effective in stopping GBS infections from developing in newborn babies.