Knowledge-based strategies to help prevent babies becoming infected by group B strep (or other harmful microorganisms!) before birth:
1) Urine culturing for GBS and other bacteria – In the US, this is usually done at the first prenatal visit and is different than the standard prenatal urine “dipstick” check. Urine culturing is important because having GBS in your urine means that you are likely to be heavily colonized vaginally where GBS could potentially harm your baby.
- If you have a significant level of GBS in your urine, your provider should prescribe oral antibiotics at the time of diagnosis. GBSI advocates a recheck (“test of cure”) one month after treatment.
- If you have any reportable amount of GBS in your urine, you should receive IV antibiotics for GBS during labor and delivery regardless of any future GBS test results in this pregnancy.
2) See your provider promptly for any “vaginitis” symptoms – GBS can cause vaginitis symptoms such as:
- external vaginal burning
- external vaginal irritation
- unusual discharge
These symptoms may be mistaken for a yeast infection and treated incorrectly.
Please click here for medical abstracts on GBS vaginitis.
3) Avoid unnecessary invasive procedures – Invasive procedures may push GBS closer to your baby where GBS is able to cross intact membranes. Knowing how far you are dilated does not accurately predict when your baby will be born. Vaginal or perineal ultrasounds are less invasive options for internal exams although may not be readily available in all health care settings.
“GBSI’s Information Statement on Fetal Membrane Stripping” (en español) explains why membrane stripping (or “sweeping”) should be avoided.
“Do Not Strip Membranes in the Presence of Group B Strep and Here’s Why” by Dr. James A. McGregor. This video contains ultrasound footage illustrating active uterine transport in both a non-pregnant and pregnant patient.
Video testimonials by providers as to why they avoid stripping membranes can be viewed on GBSI’s YouTube channel.
GBSI’s poster “Why membranes should NOT be stripped” below (en español) explains why membranes should NOT be stripped even if a woman tests negative for GBS! It is important to note that E. coli and other local microflora can also cross/weaken intact membranes.
Please click here for medical abstracts on the risk of infection due to invasive procedures.
Reasons to contact your provider immediately:
1) Decreased or no fetal movement after your 20th week
2) You have any unexplained fever