It is estimated that about 1 in 4 pregnant women carry the Group B streptococcus infection in their vaginas or digestive system. There is a small risk that the Strep B infection can pass to the baby before or during childbirth, either through the amniotic fluid or in the birth canal during delivery.
Screening for Strep B during pregnancy allows preventative action to be taken to minimise the chance of your newborn baby developing the infection. This might include giving antibiotics during and after labour to a mother and baby where the mother has been tested positive for Strep B during pregnancy
Most pregnant women have no symptoms, which is why it is important to be screened for Strep B.
In newborn babies the symptoms may include:
- a raised temperature
- breathing problems
- a unusually fast or slow heart beat
- poor feeding
Newborn babies are more vulnerable to Step B as they have a poorly developed immune system, which puts them at more risk from the Step B bacteria spreading throughout their bodies.
You should seek immediate medical advice if you think your baby may have a group B strep infection.
At Southdowns in Emsworth and Boxgrove we offer Step B screening in pregnancy with results available in three days - call us on 01243 766447 to arrange your test.