Group B Strep During Pregnancy

Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP, discusses Group B Strep and pregnancy.

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Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP, discusses Group B Strep and pregnancy.
Video transcript

Featuring: Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP
Video Title: Group B Strep During Pregnancy
Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

GBS stands for Group B Streptococcus and what is that? That’s a bacteria that is plentiful, and grows in a healthful way in people’s lower part of their gastrointestinal tract.

So what I mean by that is it’s part of a vast mix of bugs that make up your bowel movements, and doesn’t just live there, it lives on the outside of your skin around your vagina, half way down your legs, and part way up your belly button as well too. It’s a bug that’s pretty much everywhere, but not all the time.

GBS is an interesting bug as well too because even though it causes no problems for the vast majority of people in general, very rarely it can cause a devastating illness for newborns, and it usually happens quickly after birth, typically within the first 72 hours, and sometimes there’s no warning signs that there’s a problem at all.

So the challenge as physicians and care providers is to try and figure out is there concern here that I should be aware of for this mother and this baby, during the birth that would alert me to oncoming problems with this GBS infection.

Realistically, this is a very unusual infection for babies. We spend a lot of time talking to expectant parents about this mainly as an educational piece so people are aware of the issues, but in reality, this type of infection actually only occurs probably in the range of less than 1 and 1,000 babies that are born, so we’re talking about a rare event here. Still, it’s important to have this conversation with your care provider, usually in the last month of your pregnancy about what is my approach to this potential risk, and how do we expect as care providers to anticipate any problems.

Realistically, this infection for babies is very rare, less than 1 and 1,000, and it’s highly treatable. There’s effective strategies, using antibiotics during your labor to help minimize your baby’s risk of acquiring this infection. The most important thing is to talk to your healthcare provider ahead of time to understand the issues involved, and to understand that there might be effective and useful intervention such as taking antibiotics IV during your labor to help minimize this potential outcome. This is a complex problem that often takes a little bit of time to talk to your healthcare provider about.

If you have questions about Group B Strep During Pregnancy, certainly your doctor or your mid-wife would be a good person to talk to about it.

Presenter: Dr. Heather Jenkins, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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