BirthPositive strep test in pregnancy is it dangerous for the baby?

Positive strep test in pregnancy is it dangerous for the baby?

A positive strep test during pregnancy does not mean that you have an infection or that your baby will become infected. In these cases, a preventive antibiotic treatment is administered at the time of delivery.

If you have had a vaginal discharge during pregnancy and finally the culture for group B streptococcus (GBS) has been positive, it is normal for you to worry. It happens to many moms, especially due to the fears and doubts that may arise since then, especially if in consultation the explanations that are given generate even more questions instead of solving them and reassuring them, or when we start to read and read and end up having an excess of information.

The Streptococcus agalactie (EGC) bacterium is a bacterium that we can normally find in the flora of our digestive system, specifically in the small intestine, without causing absolutely any problem, since it tends to die due to the action of bile. However, when it is in the colon it can pass to the rectum and from there to the genitals (to the vagina).  However, this does not mean that you have an infection.

In fact, when the smear from the vagina and rectum has tested positive it only means that you have the bacteria. That is, you are a carrier, which is not synonymous with having the infection. Hence, the administration of antibiotics during labor is a prophylaxis (basically a set of measures taken to protect or preserve certain diseases), and not a treatment. Since colonization is intermittent, in most cases prophylaxis is administered primarily during delivery and not before.

Why is it like this? Mainly because the exudate test is carried out between 35 and 37 weeks of gestation, which means that even if an antibiotic treatment is administered at that time, it does not guarantee that the vagina cannot be colonized again at the time of delivery.  Since it is at that moment when it is important that the vagina is not, it is when the treatment is administered in a preventive way.

Universally, prophylaxis consists of administering intravenous antibiotic treatment every 4 to 6 hours during labor until the baby is born, which will help reduce the risk that the baby could become colonized and develop a perinatal infection.

Most of the time, labor tends to last more than four hours, so at many times, there is enough time to administer at least two doses of antibiotics. However, if the delivery is so, so fast that it does not have time for its administration, and that even the baby is colonized by the EGC bacteria, this does not mean that she has to develop infection. From that moment, pediatricians will take the appropriate measures immediately to avoid problems and risks.

At what other times is prophylaxis administered?

What’s more, it is equally common for prophylaxis to always be carried out in the following circumstances:

  • In deliveries of less than 37 weeks, even if the test result is not known.
  • When the result is positive from the start of labor.
  • When the result is positive, there is no labor, but a ruptured bag has occurred.

And in case of urine infection in pregnancy?

Only when you have had a symptom of infection throughout your pregnancy, especially a urinary GBS infection at some point during your gestation, or if you have already had a previous child with a neonatal infection by this bacterium, it is usual that intrapartum prophylaxis is administered directly, without the need for a vaginal discharge test, since the risk is considered to be actually high.

However, if you do not present any symptoms of infection at the time of delivery try to be calm, since, in reality, the chances of the baby developing a Streptococcus agalactie infection remain low. In addition, the pediatrician and other health personnel will be very attentive to prevent not only infection, but any associated risk.


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