Some women carry group B streptococcus bacteria in their vaginal
area, and it does not cause problems. (This type of strep is different from the
type that causes strep throat infection.) Without knowing it, a woman who has
group B streptococcus bacteria in her vagina can pass the infection to her baby
during vaginal birth. The baby can then develop an infection of the tissues
covering the brain (meningitis) or an infection of the
Some babies who get severe infections caused by group B streptococcus
develop brain damage, hearing loss, or blindness. Brain damage can result in
Late in your third trimester, your doctor is likely to
check you for group B streptococcus bacteria, particularly if you have any risk
factors for the infection. If you test positive, if you have certain risk factors for group B strep, or if for some reason you
aren't tested, you will receive antibiotics during labor. Antibiotics reduce
the likelihood that you will pass the infection to your baby.
Antibiotic treatment is not needed if you're having a planned
cesarean delivery that takes place before labor has started and before your water breaks.1
CitationsAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011). Prevention of early onset group B streptococcal disease in newborns. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 485. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 117(4): 1019–1027.
July 23, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.