How is Group B Streptococcus (GBS) treated?

In the pregnant mother: The most effective way to prevent GBS infection in your baby is to treat you with antibiotics during labor if you test positive as a carrier of GBS. Being a carrier of GBS is a temporary situation it is important to treat at the time of labor as it is not effective to treat at an earlier time.

If you test positive your provider will treat you with an antibiotic administered through a vein during your labor and delivery. Giving you an antibiotic at this time helps prevent the spread of GBS from you to your newborn; 90 percent of infections are prevented by this protocol.

One exception to the timing of treatment is when GBS is detected in urine. When this is the case, oral antibiotic treatment should begin at the time GBS is identified regardless of stage of pregnancy and be given again intravenously during labor.

Any pregnant woman who has previously given birth to a baby who developed a GBS infection, who has had a urinary tract infection in this pregnancy caused by GBS, will also be treated during labor.

In the newborn: Despite testing and antibiotic treatment during a pregnant woman's labor, some babies still get GBS infections. Common symptoms of GBS infection in newborns are fever, difficulty feeding, irritability, or lethargy (limpness or difficulty in waking up the baby). Your doctor might take a sample of the baby's blood or spinal fluid to see if the baby has GBS infection. Antibiotics will be given if treatment is determined to be necessary.

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