Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE GROUP B STREPTOCOCCUS DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

                                                                                                                                                

What is group B Streptococcus during pregnancy?

Also known as Streptococcus agalactiae, group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a group of bacteria that can infect anybody and do so in various parts of the body. GBS is a particular problem in pregnancy as it can enter through the cervix as an ascending infection - an infection that moves upward through the birth canal. The name Streptococcus means that the bacteria are spherical cells (cocci) and form chains (strepta) by attaching end-to-end like the cars in a train. GBS often inhabits the vagina and rectum in healthy women. When it ascends, however, GBS can cause diseases, such as endometritis (inflammation of the lining of the uterus), chorioamnionitis (inflammation of the fetal membranes and amniotic fluid), and urinary tract infections (UTI). (Various other types of bacteria also can cause these three conditions.) Most of the time, GBS does not hurt you. However, if you do harbor GBS and you are pregnant, the GBS has the potential to harm the baby, regardless of whether or not you suffer from endometritis, chorioamnionitis, or UTI. For this reason, pregnant women are screened routinely for GBS. 


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