Group B Streptococcus (GBS), or Streptococcus agalactiae, is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive and lower reproductive tracts of both men and women. About 1 in 4 pregnant women "carry" or are "colonized" with GBS.
Carrying GBS does not mean that you are unclean. Anyone can carry GBS. GBS is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease or infection as it can occur on its own even in someone with no prior sexual experience. However, bacteria can be passed between sexual partners, including through oral contact. (For more info on this, please read the medical articles on our website under Sex & GBS.)
Unfortunately, babies can be infected by GBS before birth and up to about 6 months of age due to their underdeveloped immune systems.
There are three types of perinatal GBS disease, each with their own prevention challenges:
Recognize the symptoms of infection! GBS is a fast-acting type of bacteria so it is imperative that everyone who takes care of your baby knows the symptoms of possible GBS infection in babies and how to respond. Click here to order or download our many complimentary GBS awareness materials!