You have probably heard a lot about bacterial infections and viruses that can cause vaginal infections in some women. These infections can have irritating symptoms and can do damage to your reproductive organs if left untreated. But there is one type of infection that can do damage to more than just you. Group strep infections can affect the health of your unborn baby. So let's learn a little more about strep infections of the vagina.
The most common type of strep infection that is found in the vagina is group B streptococcus, or GBS for short. This is a bacteria that is normally found in the vagina and lower intestine of healthy women. But when you become pregnant, this type of bacteria can pose a threat to your pregnancy and unborn child.
It is important to point out that GBS is not a *** transmitted disease. A lot of women will have no symptoms at all and may be unaware that they carry this bacteria. So how do you know if you have it? When you are pregnant, your doctor can do a swab of your vagina and rectum between your 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. If the swab is done before this, the amount of GBS will not be significant enough to show positive. The swab is then sent to a lab where it is cultured. Test results will be known in approximately 24 to 48 hours.
Testing positive for GBS is not the end of the world. It simply means that you are a carrier of GBS and you could pass it on to your baby. Not every baby that has a mother who tests positive for GBS will become sick. However, you may be labeled a high-risk pregnancy. The complications that can arise from having GBS are preterm labor before 37 weeks and early rupture of membranes 18 hours or more before delivery. You may spike a fever during labor or you may be more susceptible to urinary tract infections. A urinary tract infection can throw a pregnant woman into preterm labor if not treated right away.
If you test positive, your doctor will give you antibiotics through an intravenous line during your labor and delivery to help protect your baby. This will greatly decrease the chances of your baby becoming ill from the GBS infection.
So if you are pregnant and diagnosed positive for group B streptococcus, hang in there. With the proper treatment you and your baby can enjoy a healthy and happy life together.
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