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Group B Strep Awareness Month

What is Group B Strep?

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a common type of bacteria, with about 20% of women in the UK carrying it. The bacteria is natural, normal and not harmful or associated with any health risks for women that carry it.

Strep B in Pregnancy and Labour

If a woman is carrying GBS, there is a chance that this will be passed on to the baby.

Babies can come into contact with GBS during labour after the waters have broken and during childbirth.

In most cases, the baby will be unaffected. However, there are rare cases where Group Strep B bacteria can cause complications during pregnancy and birth. The most common complications associated with GBS are sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.

Sadly, babies can be left with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, brain injury or serious learning difficulties.

Prevention

The Group Strep B test is a routine antenatal test, which involves taking a swab from the inside of the vagina by a healthcare professional during weeks 35-37 of pregnancy.

If this comes back positive, then intravenous antibiotics are likely to be recommended when the mothers water break or when labour starts.

If the baby is due via a planned caesarean there will be no requirement for the antibiotics, as the bacteria can not be passed to the baby through the placenta.

Once baby is born, they will be closely monitored for any signs of infections.

Risk Factors

There are some babies who are more likely to be affected by Group Strep B:

  • Those born before 37 weeks
  • Waters breaking before 37 weeks
  • A fever during labour
  • Previous child with severe group strep b infection
  • Detected group strep b during pregnancy

Late onset GBS infection

Late onset GBS infection occurs after the baby’s first 6 days usually as meningitis or sepsis. It is unlikely to occur after a baby reaches one month old and extremely rare after 3 months. 

Group Strep B and Medical Negligence Claims

Although measures are in place to prevent group strep b, mistakes can unfortunately be made. Late diagnosis, delayed treatment or poor treatment may increase the risk of complications for your baby.

If your baby has died or developed a disability as a result of negligent treatment you may be entitled to compensation. 

The firm has acted for many families, who have suffered negligent treatment during pregnancy and childbirth. Cases are handled sensitively and with compassion, whilst ensuring the best possible outcome.

Contact Sara on sarawestwood@m-j-p.co.uk or 01603 877000.

The campaign can be followed online using the hashtag #GBSAM19.

Let us take it from here.

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