Group B Strep Testing
Group B Strep (GBS) is a bacteria present in the vagina and bowel of around 20% of women in the UK.
It does not cause harm or any health concerns in the women that carry it.
However, It can become a problem for babies in the women that carry it when their water's break. A small number of babies will be exposed to it and some will get a potentially serious infection. Group B Streptococcus is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies up to age 3 months.
Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics into pregnant women that carry the GBS at the start of labour . However, the NHS does not routinely screen pregnant women for GBS. You can have Group B Strep Screening at the Aster Baby Scan Clinic at 35 to 37 weeks of your pregnancy. Results will be sent to you to share with yoru healthcare provider.
Which women need antibiotics against GBS?
Current UK guidelines recommend that women with GBS should be offered antibiotics in labour if:
GBS has been detected during the current or previous pregnancy
If a previous baby had GBS infection
If she is in preterm labour (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy)
If she has a fever in labour.
Another risk factor is waters breaking more than 18 hours before birth.
In spite of all this, the NHS does not routinely screen for GBS.
At the Aster Baby Scan Clinic we offer GBS Screening.
The benefits of Group B Strep Screening in Pregnancy is
the opportunity to have antibiotics in labour and a reduced risk of infection of the baby or neonate
Who processes the result?
The Doctor's Laboratory (TDL) (www.tdlpathology.com) process the result following the method described in the UK Standard, using enriched culture medium (ECM).
Two swabs need to be taken typically at 35 to 37 weeks to best predict GBS carriage and sent to the Doctors’ laboratory the same day by first class post, accompanied by a completed request form. You would take these yourself and we can explain how this is done.
When will the results come?
The result of the test will be available within 3 working days of receipt of swabs. Results will be sent to you and we advise you to give a copy of the result to your midwife, doctor or health professional responsible for your pregnancy.