Group B Strep Test

1 What is a Group B Strep Test?

A common bacterium often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract is called Group B streptococcus.

These are harmless but can cause complications during pregnancy and serious illness.

Your doctor will swab your rectum and vagina and will then send the sample to a lab for testing during this procedure.

You can also do this by yourself but your doctor will give you instructions on how to do it. You will then repeat the group B strep test each time you are pregnant.

You do not need to do anything if the result is negative but you will b given antibiotics to prevent group B strep disease in your baby if the result is positive.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo group B strep test.

This is done during pregnancy to identify women who have common bacterium but this is mostly harmless in adults.

This can cause heart problems during pregnancy such as:

This can also contribute to infection and inflammation of the membrane mining if the uterus (endometritis) and also can carry a risk wound infection after a C-section.

The risk of the baby is the primary concern for group B strep. Some babies develop only an infection but some develop life-threatening complications shortly after birth or may be even months later.

Some of the possible complications include:

  • bacteria in the blood (bacteremia)
  • inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia)
  • inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain (meningitis)
  • life-threatening infection in the blood (sepsis)

During labor, you will be treated with antibiotics to destroy the bacteria in the birth canal and to reduce the risk of your baby developing an infection.

It will not help if you take antibiotics before labor because the bacteria can grow quickly.

You are at high risk of spreading group B strep to your baby if you have previously given birth to a baby who had a group B strep infection or had urinary tract infection.

You will be automatically treated with antibiotics during labor so you will not need group B strep test.

As long as the amniotic fluid is intact and labor has not yet begun, antibiotics are not necessary if you are going to have a C-section.

3 Potential Risks

There is no potential risk in doing group B strep test.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

Group B strep test is done between the 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. There is no need to prepare for this test.

Talk to your doctor about your previous pregnancies, tell him whether you had a baby with group B strep or not.

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your group B strep test. This test is done in your doctor’s office.

During the procedure, your doctor will ask you to lie on your back on a table and he will swap the cells and secretions from your lower vagina and rectum by using sterile cotton.

After the procedure, you can return to your normal activities and within several days the test result will be available.

6 Procedure Results

It does not mean that you are sick or your baby is sick if the group B strep test result came positive, it only means that there is s potential infection.

Your doctor will make a plan for labor and tell him if you have allergic reactions to any medications. These will help your doctor provide the best possible care during labor and after delivery.