To prevent group B bacteria from spreading to your baby during labor, your doctor can give you an IV antibiotic — usually penicillin or a related drug — when labor begins. If you're allergic to penicillin and related drugs, you may receive clindamycin or a similar alternative. Taking oral antibiotics ahead of time won't help because the bacterium can return before labor begins.
Antibiotic treatment during labor is also recommended if you:
- Have a urinary tract infection
- Delivered a previous baby with group B strep disease
- Develop a fever during labor
- Haven't delivered your baby within 18 hours of your water breaking
- Go into labor before 37 weeks and haven't been tested for group B strep
Antibiotic therapy isn't usually needed if you have a C-section delivery unless your water breaks or labor has already begun before surgery.
If you test positive for group B strep, remind your health care team during labor. Your reminders will help your health care team provide the best possible care during labor and delivery.
Group B strep typically doesn't affect the length of time you and your baby spend in the hospital, and it doesn't affect your ability to breast-feed safely.
Vaccine in development
Although it's not available yet, researchers are working on a group B strep vaccine that could, in the future, help prevent group B strep infections among adults.
April 26, 2016
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in neonates and young infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
- Group B strep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/about/index.html. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
- Hay WW, et al. The newborn infant. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 22nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
- Barshak M, et al. Group B streptococcal infections in nonpregnant adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in pregnant women. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.