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Understanding the signs and symptoms of Strep B

View profile for Leanne Devine
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Pregnancy is a time of anticipation and joy, but it can also bring concerns and health-related issues. One such concern is Group B Streptococcus, often referred to as Strep B. This bacterial infection, while usually harmless in adults, can have serious implications when transmitted to newborns during childbirth. Therefore, understanding the signs and symptoms of Strep B is crucial, especially for expectant mothers. In this article, we will explore the signs and symptoms of Strep B during pregnancy or after birth and what you need to know to protect both yourself and your baby. 


What is Strep B? 

Strep B, is a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal and genital tracts of healthy adults. While it usually doesn't cause any symptoms or problems in adults, it can pose a significant risk to newborns if transmitted during childbirth. 


Group B Strep Pregnancy Symptoms 

During pregnancy, some women may experience symptoms associated with Group B Strep, but these are not always present. It is essential to be aware of the following signs: 

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Some pregnant women with Strep B may develop UTIs, which can cause symptoms such as frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, and cloudy or bloody urine. 

  • Vaginal Infections: Strep B can lead to vaginal infections, resulting in symptoms like unusual vaginal discharge, itching, and discomfort. 

  • Pelvic Pain: In some cases, Strep B may cause pelvic pain or discomfort. 


Signs of Strep B 

Strep B symptoms can be subtle or entirely absent, making it challenging to diagnose without proper testing. Therefore, it's essential to be vigilant and undergoing necessary screenings during pregnancy, as this may help detect the bacteria. Here are some signs that may indicate the presence of Strep B: 

  • Premature labour: Women who are carriers of Strep B may be at an increased risk of premature labour, or giving birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This can result in complications for both the mother and the baby. 

  • Fever: If you develop a fever during labour or shortly after giving birth, it could be a sign of Strep B infection. 

  • Bacterial infection in the newborn: One of the most significant concerns with Strep B is the potential transmission to the new-born during childbirth. 


Signs of Strep B in a newborn 

Some of the signs of Strep B in a new-born include

  • Fever 

  • Problems feeding 

  • Breathing issue  

  • Floppiness or being unresponsive 

  • Changes in skin colour or blotchy skin 

  • Unusual heart rate 

It's essential to seek immediate medical attention if your newborn displays any of these symptoms. 


Testing and Prevention 

To protect both yourself and your baby, you may be able to undergo Strep B testing during your pregnancy, typically around weeks 35 to 37. This involves a swab of the vaginal and rectal areas. If you test positive for Strep B, your healthcare provider will recommend administering antibiotics during labour to reduce the risk of transmission to the newborn. 



Knowing the signs and symptoms of Strep B can help safeguard your health and the health of your baby. While not all pregnant women with Strep B experience symptoms, being aware of potential signs and undergoing testing can make a significant difference. Early detection and proper medical care can ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, allowing you to embrace the joy of motherhood with confidence.