Group B Strep in Pregnancy


Every pregnant woman is evaluated for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy.  By 36 weeks, if she hasn’t yet had GBS, a swab is done of the vagina and anus in the office to specifically rule it out. 

What’s it all about?

GBS is a type of bacteria that is commonly found on humans.  It can live in the digestive and urinary tracts and in women can also be found in the vagina.  It’s quite normal to have and not considered an infection.   As many as one out of every five women will test positive in pregnancy for GBS.

What is the problem then?

During delivery, it is possible for GBS to be passed from the mother to the newborn.  When exposed babies usually do fine.  However, babies that do contract GBS from the mother are at risk for quite serious infections.  For this reason, all pregnant women who’ve tested positive for GBS during their pregnancy are started on ampicillin or penicillin during labor.  The purpose of the antibiotic is to pass through the placenta to the baby to provide the newborn with protection during birth to prevent them from contracting GBS.

When women are allergic to penicillin there are alternative antibiotics that are used depending on the specifics of the case.

What does it all mean?

Fortunately, with routine screening for GBS and intrapartum treatment of all women who’ve tested positive with the appropriate antibiotics, GBS sepsis is very rare in newborns.  It’s important to make it to all your prenatal visits and to get tested as recommended by your OBGYN. 




El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.


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