Group B strep (GBS) is a relatively harmless bacteria present in the vagina or rectum in around 20 – 40% of women. Most people are not aware they are carrying this bacteria. Although relatively harmless to an adult, it is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies.
Babies are often exposed to GBS shortly before or during labour. Currently there is no national screening for GBS in the UK and the NHS will only screen you if you are deemed high risk. If the bacteria is passed onto your newborn baby, it can be very serious. Your baby could develop any of the following: septicaemia, pneumonia, meningitis, visual and auditory problems
The procedure is very simple and involves a swab of the vagina and rectum. We send this off for analysis and the results come back in a few days. We recommend you have the test around 35 weeks of pregnancy. The cost of the swab is £99 and you can book on-line or call 01483 454 016.
Please try not to worry as many women who carry the Group B Strep bacteria have healthy babies and may not pass the bacteria onto their newborn baby. However, it is important to know and inform your midwife and medical team so they can be prepared during labour and give you and your baby any anti-biotics required.
To find out more about Group B Strep please visit: gbss.org.uk