Protecting Your Baby Before and During Labor
The two pillars of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation to protect against early-onset GBS are to test all women during week 35-37 of their pregnancy and to administer antibiotics during labor to those who test positive.
For the test, a swab will be sued to collect a sample. According to the CDC, about 25% of pregnant women are carriers of the bacteria and should be treated during delivery. If you're one of these women, ask your doctor for Illumigene GBS.
In addition to asking your doctor about your GBS test, you should:
- See your provider promptly for any symptoms of vaginal infection. Get a copy of all test results and keep them with you.
- Take caution regarding invasive procedures.
- Discuss the benefits vs. risks of possible methods of induction with your provider early in pregnancy as not all providers ask before "stripping" membranes.
- If you are having a planned C-section, talk to your provider about the risks vs. benefits of starting IV antibiotics well before your incision. C-sections may not completely prevent GBS infection, although the risk during a planned C-section is extremely low if performed before your labor starts/water breaks.
The CDC says pregnant women who test positive or have had a previous infant with GBS should receive antibiotics through the vein during labor. This method is only effective during labor because the bacteria can grow back quickly.