B Strep: What It Is & Why It Matters

Today for the A to Z blogging challenge, we're on letter B, and I'm discussing B Strep. If you don't know what B Strep, sometimes referred to as vaginal strep, is then don't be surprised: you're not alone. Actually, I'm pretty sure B Strep is the reason my last labor was prolonged for an extra few hours while I took an antibiotic to protect my baby. However, I didn't ask enough questions last pregnancy, so I'm trying to change that this time.

Group B Strep

Anyway, here are some quick facts about B Strep.

What is B Strep?

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium that can be found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and genital area of adults. - University of Rochester Medical Center.
  • A normal bacteria, naturally found in the digestive tract and birth canal in up to 1 in 4 pregnant women.Group B Strep International
  • Not sexually transmitted North Carolina Women's Hospital
  • For every 1000 GBS positive mothers, one or two babies will become infected and need treatment. Group B Strep International
  • Typically causes no symptoms for adults, but may cause urinary tract infections.
  • No vaccine, treatment options (outside of antibiotics during labor), or way to avoid contracting this widespread bacteria. University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Once you test positive, you will be considered positive for life, even though it can come and go.

B Strep & Pregnancy

Although 99% of infants who come in contact with GBS during the birth process do not become ill, those who do can develop severe, life-threatening complications. Fortunately, treatment is available.University of Maryland Medical Center.
B Strep can be life threatening to infant during prenatal development up to about 6 months of age, though most (if infected by GBS) develop symptoms by three weeks of age. Some of the more serious effects of an infant contracting GBS are meningitis or pneumonia. Infants who become infected with meningitis can have other long-term health effects, so it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms for GBS infection in infants and to take all precautions (such as receiving your GBS test around 35 weeks pregnant and getting Penicillin during labor, prior to delivery).

Symptoms of GBS in Infants

  • High-pitched cry, shrill moaning, whimpering
  • Marked irritability, inconsolable crying
  • Constant grunting as if constipated
  • Projectile vomiting
  • High or low or unstable temperature; hands and feet may still feel cold even with a fever
  • Blotchy, red, or tender skin
  • Blue, gray, or pale skin due to lack of oxygen
  • Lower picture is of the same baby with cardiovascular shock-induced pallor due to late-onset GBS disease
  • Fast, slow, or difficult breathing
  • Body stiffening, uncontrollable jerking
  • Listless, floppy, or not moving an arm or leg
  • Tense or bulgy spot on top of head
  • Blank stare
  • Infection at base of umbilical cord or in puncture on head from internal fetal monitor
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Refuses two feedings in a row
Symptom information taken from Group B Strep International and the North Carolina Women's Hospital, because I lack knowledge or experience to inform your properly.

I hope that, after reading this, you feel more informed about GBS and can be aware of the importance of prenatal testing and treatment during labor. I have no intention of causing panic or of claiming expertise in the matter, but I think it's always better to be informed!

You can click the orange links to read more about GBS or to see where I got my information from. Once again, I'm not an expert on the subject. If you know someone this might affect, please share!


  1. This is very informative, thank you! I remember being tested for it at the end of my pregnancy, but since the test was negative, I didn't look into it that much. I wasn't aware that it could come and go!

    1. It's only really relevant while your a pregnant mom, because that's the way babies typically get it; by swallowing fluids from the mom during delivery. That's why no one knows/cares about it otherwise. Although, I read somewhere they were developing a vaccine.

  2. Oh that sounds awful for babies. I vaguely remember being tested for it with my first son. I don't even know if I was tested or not with my second. Thanks for informing us on what it actually is. I don't think I ever really knew.

  3. I'm so glad my tests have always been negative during pregnancy. It's something that can be very scary. Thank you for spreading awareness on such an important topic. I think too many women blow this type of thing off, not realizing the consequences.

    1. I didn't get the information I needed my first pregnancy. My son didn't get B Strep or any negative side effects from me having it, but i wasn't as informed as I should have been. I've learned to ask more questions this time around.

  4. Wow I never knew all of the symptoms on babies. I remember being tested too and luckily didn't have it.

    Michelle F.

  5. I Never Knew All About This Thank You For The Great Info!

  6. Great information on this.. I asked my wife is she knew what that was, and she did not know either.

    1. I think with my first child I was tested and even treated, but never really informed of what for. I never thought too much about it until later and then with this pregnancy I asked more questions.

  7. Such great info. I never knew half of it. My daughter had Strep Throat last year and it was awful.

    1. If I remember correctly, that's typically caused from a different strand (the A strand).

  8. Thanks for the info, it will come in handy for so many. Keep up the great posts!

  9. Thank you for this information. I've never even heard of B Strep before!

  10. I remember getting tested with my last one, but not my first three. Of course they could have tested me and I just don't remember.

  11. This is good information to know. Strep is never fun. Amber N

  12. Great article and I wish more women would be tested and treated if needed... Many are not anymore.

    1. My sister was tested and never received an antibiotic during her labor, so now it's something she worried about, unfortunately.

  13. It's really important to get tested for this because of the harm it can brought for the baby. I was tested and came out positive and so I was given antibiotic through IV. My baby is healthy and now 10 months old with no signs of any health problem.

  14. I learned a few news things. Thanks for sharing this information. Hopefully it helps other parents get tested and keep them and their babies safe.

  15. Such a great post for everyone to check out!

    Thanks again for joining the Link Up this week!


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