If you live in the United States and are seeing an obstetrician/gynecologist, or a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), you will definitely be offered the chance to be screened for GBS during your third trimester of pregnancy. The United States maternity care system takes a universal approach to GBS screening in pregnancy. Screening for Group B streptococcus is usually performed between 35 and 37 weeks of a pregnancy. A swab is taken from both the vagina and the rectum, and the results are ready within a day or two. If you test positive for Group B streptococcus, you will be given IV antibiotics during labor to prevent passing the infection onto your newborn. Some doctors advise treating a pregnant woman with Penicillin before birth and then testing again, but many say that this approach is not effective and any woman who tests positive for GBS during pregnancy should receive IV antibiotics while they are in labor. Most European countries do not offer routine Group B streptococcus screening and testing and take a a risk-based approach to GBS care instead. Women who test positive for Group B Strep are treated with vaginal Hibiclens (chlorhexidine) instead of, or in addition to, IV antibiotics.
Group B streptococcus is a bacterial infection. Though Group B streptococcus, also called GBS, lives naturally in the human digestive tract and is said to affect up to 40 percent of women, it can pose a dangerous to newborns. Women who have GBS in their rectum or vagina are said to be "colonized" with the bacteria. Normally, this is not a problem and does not cause any symptoms. But because Group B streptococcus can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth, and it can cause pneumonia, meningitis, or sepsis in newborns, prompt treatment is required for GBS+ pregnant women. Those are not diseases to joke around about! So, what is the treatment for Group B streptococcus during pregnant?