If you're pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a group B strep screening between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy. Your doctor will take swab samples from your vagina and rectum and send them to a lab for testing.
A positive test indicates that you carry group B strep. It doesn't mean that you're ill or that your baby will be affected, but that you're at increased risk of passing the bacteria to your baby during birth. You can take steps to protect your newborn.
After you give birth, if your doctor suspects your baby has group B strep disease, a sample of your baby's blood or spinal fluid will be sent to a lab for evaluation.
If your baby appears ill, he or she might be given other tests, including:
- Urine culture
- Lumbar puncture
- Chest X-ray
If your baby tests positive for group B strep, he or she will be given intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Depending on your baby's condition, he or she might need IV fluids, oxygen or other medications.
Antibiotics are effective treatment for group B strep infection in adults. The choice of antibiotic depends on the location and extent of the infection and your specific circumstances.
If you're pregnant and develop complications due to group B strep, you'll be given oral antibiotics, usually penicillin or cephalexin (Keflex). Both are considered safe to take during pregnancy.
Aug. 15, 2019
- AskMayoExpert. Group B streptococcus (GBS) infection. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2019.
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in neonates and young infants. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 16, 2019.
- Group B strep (GBS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/index.html. Accessed July 16, 2019.
- Puopolo KM, et al. Management of infants at risk for Group B streptococcal disease. Pediatrics. 2019;144:e1881.
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in pregnant women. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 16, 2019.