I'm 38 weeks pregnant and I just found out I'm positive for Group B Strep. I'm terrified. Are these reasonable worries?
It is difficult when you learn that you have an infection that could potentially make your baby sick. But let me reassure you that since your health care provider knows that you are positive, you are well on your way to a successful delivery and a healthy baby.
Group B Strep (GBS) is a type of bacterial infection found in a pregnant woman's rectum or vagina (it usually resides in the lower intestine or vagina). It's also fairly common. According the American Pregnancy Association (APA), "15% to 40% of all healthy, adult women" have this infection. The concern with GBS is that your baby could become infected while passing through the birth canal on delivery day. To lessen this risk, your doctor will treat your infection by giving you intravenous (IV) antibiotics before you give birth. Often, your doctor, knowing your Group B, status, will have you come into the hospital a little sooner than she might otherwise. At the hospital you will be started on the IV.
Receiving IV antibiotics will greatly reduce the risk of your baby becoming infected with GBS during delivery. The APA notes that women who are treated with IV antibiotics have a 1 in 4000 chance of delivering a baby with the infection. For those not given antibiotics, it jumps to 1 in 200.
Most important, talk to your health care provider about your concerns. She can explain to you that measures she will take, and the hospital staff will provide, to make sure that your baby is delivered safely.