Group B Strep & Pregnancy

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) maintains that frequent screening for Group B Strep at the end of pregnancy is the most effective method of preventing the bacteria from being spread from mother to baby during childbirth.

Group B Strep in Pregnancy

Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of CDC said, "Group B Strep disease remains a leading infectious cause of illness and death among newborns in the United States, resulting in approximately 1,600 illnesses and 80 deaths each year. It's hoped that the results of this study will lead to more doctors and other health care providers routinely screening women late in pregnancy for this bacteria, which can lead to long-term developmental disabilities, such as mental retardation, or hearing or vision loss in children who survive an infection."

Preventing Group B Strep Infection in Newborns

In the guidelines released in 1996, the CDC suggests two methods for preventing this infection in newborns:

  1. Prescribe antibiotics to women with medical risk factors for communication of the infection at birth. These include fever, prolonged interval between rupture of the membranes and delivery, or early delivery.
  2. Test women for the presence of Group B Strep during weeks 35 and 37 of their pregnancy and then prescribe antibiotics during birth to those who are carriers.

Prenatal screening is the preferred method of treatment and, according to data released by CDC, was more than 50 percent more effective in keeping the bacteria from being spread than the clinical risk factor method.