Group B Strep Can Affect Infant Immune Development

Has your doctor talked to you about Group B Strep? 

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is one of the many bacteria that live in the body. About 1 in 4 pregnant women carry GBS bacteria in their vagina and rectum. GBS is pretty harmless to pregnant women, but because it’s in the vagina, GBS can pass to a baby during labor and cause a serious infection.

All pregnant women are swabbed for GBS between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy. If GBS is found, most women will receive antibiotics during labor to kill the GBS and protect the baby. 

Unfortunately, antibiotics do not only kill GBS. Antibiotics can also kill all the helpful and essential bacteria in the vagina that a baby’s immune system needs to thrive. Worse, because antibiotics for GBS are given through an IV, they can go straight from mom’s blood stream to baby’s blood stream. 

Prenatal antibiotics drastically increase the risk of allergic diseases later in life.

The best way to prevent a positive GBS test, and the microbiome-destroying antibiotics that the test result will trigger, is to reduce the growth of GBS during pregnancy. Pregnant women cannot take antibiotics to kill GBS before the test, because GBS can grow back quickly, and taking antibiotics during pregnancy will also affect the baby’s maturing immune system.

Prenatal probiotics that balance the vaginal microbiome with helpful bacteria, will make the vagina unfriendly to GBS. Prenatal probiotics can thus reduce the risk of a GBS infection and reduce the use of strong antibiotics during labor.