|Group B Beta Streptococcus (GBBS)
At around 36 weeks of pregnancy, I will routinely swab the vaginal and rectal area to test for a bacteria called Group B Beta Streptococcus (GBBS). This bacteria is normally found in about 25% of the population. It actually lives in the intestinal tract and vagina of many normal women. It is not harmful to any woman or her family. Actually, if a woman tests positive for the bacteria, usually the entire family carries the bacteria. We call this woman a carrier.
If you test positive for the bacteria, we do protect a newborn infant from GBBS by giving the mother antibiotics during the labor process. GBBS can cause infection in a newborn and treating for this bacteria can almost eliminate all risk for infection.
Do not be alarmed about this infection! You are just part of a normal carrier population. Some people do clear the GBBS from their system over time. Therefore, just because you were positive with a previous pregnancy does not automatically mean you will be positive with all pregnancies. We check this swab with every pregnancy and only treat you if you are positive.
If your blood type is Rh negative, (eg. O-, B-, A-, AB-), you will need an injection of Rhogam at 28 weeks of pregnancy. This medication contains proteins that will prevent you from having a reaction to a fetus that may be Rh positive.
We will test your blood at around 26-28 weeks and then you will receive the injection in the office after we have reviewed these results from the lab.
It is very important that you obtain this medication so that your baby and all future babies can remain healthy.