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About Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria that is common on the digestive tracts of men and women. The bacteria is also present on the lower reproductive tracts of human beings. GBS is common in pregnant women- About 1 in 4 of expectant mothers carry GBS. Women who have GBS are known as “colonized” and can pass it to their babies during delivery.

According to statistics, GBS affects one out of every 2000 babies in the United States. The statistics suggest that not every baby born of a “colonized” mother becomes ill from the infection. The co,ndition is also rare among pregnant women but could have severe effects on the baby’s health. Most physicians test for GBS during the prenatal tests.

Having GBS does not mean that a person is unclean; anyone can carry the infection. GBS does not fall into sexually transmitted infections (STIs) category as it can manifest on its own without any sexual experiences. However, sexual partners can pass this infection through oral contact. The disease can also spread to the baby during birth or the first six months, as the babies’ immune system is underdeveloped at this phase.

GBS bacteria can cause dangerous infections for adults who have some chronic medical conditions such as liver disease or diabetes. Older adults are also at greater risks due to Group B streptococcus.

Types of GBS Symptoms 
Prenatal-onset GBS disease (Infant falls sick from birth) • History of a baby with GBS
• Membranes rupturing 18 or more hours before delivery
• Fever during labor
• Urinary tract infections
• Labor before 37 weeks
Early-onset GBS disease (Infant becomes sick after one week) • Fever
• Difficulty in feeding
• Lethargy
Late-onset GBS disease (Symptoms manifests on infant and mother after a week of delivery) • Vaginal burning/irritation
• Unusual vaginal discharge
• Bladder infections
• Difficulty in breathing
• Fever
• Lethargy
• Difficulty feeding

Medication during labor & delivery
Your doctor will administer an intravenous injection during delivery to reduce the chances of your baby becoming sick. Most healthcare experts recommend the administration of antibiotics at the onset of labor and at a 4-hour interval during labor until the baby’s delivery.

Medication for caesarian births
If you give birth through the C-section, your doctor will still administer the antibiotics. Health care providers require the treatment of all expectant mothers for GBS after the onset of labor.

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