In an effort to raise awareness about Group B Streptococcus (GBS), July has been made Group B Strep awareness month. Read these frequently asked questions about GBS to stay informed during your pregnancy and help spread awareness in Hattiesburg, MS.
What is Group B Strep?
This type of bacteria, streptococcus agalactiae, is a naturally occurring bacteria found in people’s digestive tracts and women’s birth canals. Most people who have this type of bacteria in their system do not have symptoms or side effects, and it does not cause any harm. Unfortunately, it is found in 1 in 4 pregnant women and can be dangerous for the baby.
When Should I Be Tested for GBS During my Pregnancy?
All pregnant women are routinely tested for GBS at 35-37 weeks with a vaginal and rectal swab during a prenatal appointment. Your urine may also be tested throughout your pregnancy, and you may have another test during labor.
Symptoms of a GBS infection during pregnancy include bladder or urinary tract infections or vaginitis symptoms including vaginal burning or irritation. This, in addition to unusual discharge, can often be mistaken for a yeast infection. Let your obstetrician know if you notice these symptoms.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has a Group B Strep Infection?
A baby can get an infection from GBS before birth, through the first week of life, or during the first several months. It is important to act quickly to diagnose and treat a Group B Strep if you notice these signs.
Signs of GBS During Pregnancy
If you have an unexplained fever during your pregnancy or there is decreased fetal movement after your 20th week of pregnancy, this could signal a GBS infection.
Signs of GBS After Birth
If you notice these symptoms in your baby, call your pediatrician immediately:
- Irritability, inconsolable crying
- Doesn’t feed well or doesn’t wake for feedings
- Sleeping too much
- Unstable temperature
- Blotchy skin or pale skin
- Difficult or unsteady breathing
- Stiff body or uncontrollable jerking
Be sure to schedule your regular prenatal appointments at Women’s Pavilion of South Mississippi.