Source: Group B Strep International
We consistently hear that parents were not aware of GBS (Group B streptococcal diseases) until their baby was harmed: blindsided, they had to scramble to learn about it.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) — not to be confused with the autoimmune dieasea Guillain-Barré Syndrome — is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive and lower reproductive tracts of both men and women. GBS is a transient, fast-acting bacteria: a woman could test negative, but become colonized with it later in pregnancy, and vice versa.
Approximately 1 in 4 pregnant women carry GBS, which can infect babies during pregnancy through the first few months of life. Not all babies exposed to GBS become infected, but, for those who do, the results can result in babies being miscarried, stillborn, born prematurely, and having lifelong handicaps or shortened life expectancies.
GBS is a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborns according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are three types of perinatal GBS disease, each with their own prevention challenges:
- Prenatal-onset GBS disease (before birth)
- Early-onset GBS disease (birth through the first 6 days of life)
- Late-onset GBS disease (7 days of age through usually 3 months of age)
It is now the standard of care in several countries for all pregnant women to be routinely tested for GBS with a vaginal/rectal swab test during the 36th or 37th week during each pregnancy unless their urine already cultured positive in the current pregnancy
If parents had awareness of GBS from the beginning, better pregnancy outcomes could be possible. We want people to come together to spread awareness so instead of thinking back on “what could’ve been,” they can visualize “what can be.” To do this we want to encourage GBS testing and awareness of the signs of infection!
Awareness is the first step towards prevention — what we’re calling #2020Foresight in this, our 20th year of observing Group B Strep awareness.