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Testing and treatment can help prevent your baby from being infected with group B strep. Treatment includes IV antibiotics (medications that help stop infections). If complications develop, other specialized treatments may be needed. Early treatment gives the best chance of a happy outcome.
Testing for the bacteria is a painless process. It is done between weeks 35 and 37 of your pregnancy. For the test, your healthcare provider uses cotton swabs to take samples from the vagina and anus. These samples are sent to the lab. Your healthcare provider will receive your test results in about 2 days. Results show whether you have group B strep.
Treatment is given if you test positive for group B strep. It may also be given if you have not been tested but you have risk factors. Either way, treatment is not given until labor begins. Group B strep can return after treatment, so IV antibiotics are started during labor. This should not affect the course of labor. After the birth, your baby will be observed in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours. This is to make sure that he or she has not been infected. Your baby’s blood may also be tested.
In newborns, most cases of group B strep infection are detected before the mother and baby go home. But in very rare cases, a late-onset infection can occur. Call your baby’s healthcare provider right away if your baby:
Has a low or high temperature.
Is refusing to feed.
Appears stressed or is fussy and can’t be calmed.
Has breathing difficulties.
Has a rapid, extremely low, or irregular heart rate.