What Is Group Beta Strep?
Group Beta Strep is a type of bacteria that is found in ten to thirty five percent of all healthy adult women. It is located in the lower intestine or vaginal area. Group Beta Strep is not contagious and is a normal part of the bacteria that live in a healthy body. Even though it is found in the vaginal area, it is not a sexually transmitted disease and your partner does not need to worry about contracting Group Beta Strep.
It is believed that approximately eight thousand or so babies contract Group Beta Strep a year in the United States and about eight hundred of these babies may die from the infection. Unfortunately some babies who survive Group Beta Strep may develop long-term medical problems, including hearing or vision loss, varying degrees of physical and learning disabilities, and cerebral palsy and as a result become permanently handicapped.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, ask your healthcare provider about testing for Group Beta Strep. If the test is not offered, you should request it. Fortunately, Group Beta Strep can be detected and treated before it can have devastating effects on your child. This is accomplished through a test, which can be performed between weeks thirty-five and weeks thirty-seven of your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider performs the test by collecting a swab or swabs from your vaginal area and rectum. You will know the results of the test within two or three days. A positive result of the test does not mean that your baby is in jeopardy. It will allow you and your healthcare provider to determine the best way to keep your baby from becoming infected. Your best course of action is to discuss treatment plans with your healthcare provider, and tell your baby's doctor, pediatrician, and newborn nursery nurse about your culture result.
If you know of any women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant tell them what you know about Group Beta Strep. You may be preventing a disaster for another family.