Group B Strep (GBS)

Hi Girls,

I don't know if you've read about this in your Pregnancy mags or have any previous experience of it, but apparently GBS is the most common life-threatening infection in newborns. It's caused by a harmless bacteria that many women carry but if you happen to be carrying it when you go into labour you can pass it on to your baby.

I'm not posting this to frighten any of you (we have enough to worry about!) just wanted to share what I'd read - there were a few heartbreaking stories all of which were avoidable if diagnosed before labour began. It's eaily diagnosed & also easily treated but the NHS don't currently offer the testing as standard.

There are private companies that offer the test for around ??30 and your midwife can carry this out for you (2 swabs) at between 35-37 weeks. You get the results in a matter of days and then if they're positive your hospital will make sure you're given antibiotics when labour starts to prevent infection.

Here's a few websites you might want to check out -
-GBS Support Campaign
-Private Screening Company
- and a petition to get these tests free of charge & routinely offered by the NHS

I've printed off the details from the private Testing company website & I'm going to take them to my next MW appt at 28wks. The peace of mind seems well worth it for ??30!


  • I was diagnosed with Group B Strep today, Spoke to midwife and I can be given oral antibiotics just before my due date as I have quick deliveries and in labour the antibiotics have to be given 4 hours apart and as my last labour was 49 mins this is impossible.
  • Hi Macdoona, how did you find out you were carrying it? Is your hospital one of the few that offer the test or did you use one of the private companies? xx
  • Hi, I was diagnosed with GBS at 20 weeks, there are two was in which you can be tested, the swabs that have already been mentioned and also a urine test. You should ask your Midwife to do a urine test for GBS if you are worried you might be carrying it. I have been offered antibiotics during my labour, which means that i can not have the waterbirth I was hoping for, but a healthy baby is all that matters to me, as I know that is all that would matter too you.
    I must be in an area that does the testing for free as I didnt even know that i was being tested and have never heard of paying ??30 for the test before!
    I reckon ask your midwife if they are able to do the test, if not I would not mind paying ??30 to make sure that my baby would be fine!
    Good Luck to everyone, and hope everything works out for the best!
  • My NHS trust do not routinely test for GBS so I sent off to mumstuff for the test and when I asked my midwife if they will do the swabs for me she refused as they will not touch private tests. She advised me to do my reasearch before I take the test as a high number of privately done tests have a false positive and it means having to take antibiotics that are not needed. If anything this left me more confused than ever.x
  • Hi Macdoona, how did you find out you were carrying it? Is your hospital one of the few that offer the test or did you use one of the private companies? xx

    I had a urine infection and when they sent the sample off to the lab to be grown to make sure I was on the right antibiotics this also grew.
  • Hiya, have just been diagnosed today with strep B at 37 weeks- I did the test privately and spoke to my midwife beforehand- she didn't seem that keen in me taking the test (reading between the lines) as apparently up to 30% of us are carriers but don't necessarily affect our babies but I didn't want to take the risk. Now I know that the hospital have no option but to treat me (their policy) which is fine but am really worried that I won't have time to have the antibiotics! Thsi is my second and I was induced with my first so have no idea how labour is going to go, feel really worried now.:\?
  • Thanks for all your replies girls - it just goes to show that these stories in the mags aren't just scare stories and could affect any of us.

    What really annoys me though is what seems to be the very apathetic attitude of the NHS & it's midwives towards this - if the test & treatment is so cheap and easy why on earth is it not offered as standard??? :x
  • Glad to hear Georgia is ok (but you have had an awful time), it seems so unfair that this is such an important issue but the NHS do not want to admit it for fear of repercussions, i gather 30% of us are carriers and if we all test positive then we all would have to take antibiotics. My midwife says that if i did test positive (which i have) the hospital will give me drugs, - i just hope i get there in time- thats my main worry!
  • Hi all, here in Australia it is routine to test at 35-37 weeks for GBS, then if positive IV antibiotics are given during labour. Also even with a negative result, if membranes rupture prematurely and mum has a temp during labour they also give antibiotics during labour as a precaution.

    My 2nd baby was born at 36+4 weeks after my waters broke early and i had a raised temp, they gave me IV antibiotics just in case of infection and all was fine in the end.

    It seems that here GBS is treated as any other possible complication of pregnancy, just like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes etc.

    Good luck girls, Shell. (35 weeks)

    [Modified by: Shell311 on November 03, 2007 08:32 AM]
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