Valley Healthcare

Staying Ahead of Group B Strep

For expectant mothers, pregnancy is an exciting time that can also be full of new and sometimes scary things to consider. Among the most common and easily treated of those is the bacterium known as Group B Streptococcus (strep), which is harmless in adults but can present issues for newborns. July is International Group B Strep Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to learn more about this common health issue than now.

During the early part of the third trimester of pregnancy, it’s always smart to get a Group B strep screening test. In fact, most doctors require patients to have the test. The test merely tells whether a pregnant woman carries the Group B strep bacteria, which typically is carried in the bladder, throat, vagina, rectum, or bowel, but never causes any signs or symptoms to indicate its presence.

The problem comes when babies are born to women carrying the Group B strep and “are not” treated, which can lead to two types of Group B strep infection in the infant (early onset and late onset). While early-onset typically begins to show within 12 hours after birth, late-onset can take from a week post-birth to several months. Signs and symptoms can include fever, difficulty feeding, coughing and congestion similar to a cold or flu, and in some very severe cases seizures.

So what if you’re pregnant, you have the Group B strep test, and your results come out positive? Don’t be afraid! The great news is that treatment for this type of bacteria typically only means antibiotics prior to delivery (often while the mother labors in the hospital or birthing center) and possibly for the baby after delivery.

Learn more about Group B strep treatment at http://www.groupbstrepinternational.org/ or set up a consultation with one of the caring doctors at Valley Healthcare by calling our main line at 706-322-9599.

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