Group B Streptococcus (GBS)
Group B Streptococcus Test
Group B Streptococcus is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies up to age 3 months.
Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics intravenously (through a vein) at the onset of labour to all women who carry GBS. UK guidelines recommend Mums should be offered these antibiotics in labour if GBS has been detected during the current pregnancy, if a previous baby had GBS infection or if she has a fever in labour. Other risk factors include labour starting or waters breaking before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy and waters breaking more than 18 hours before birth.
Intravenous antibiotics in labour are highly effective at preventing GBS infection in newborn babies, reducing the risk for a baby born to a woman carrying GBS from around 1 in 300 to less than 1 in 6000. Oral antibiotics should not be given during pregnancy for GBS as they have not been shown to reduce GBS infection in babies.