Passing Group B Strep to your baby around childbirth could seriously affect them

1 in 4 women carry it during pregnancy without knowing

Testing can make all the difference

What is Group B Strep?

Group B Streptococcus, also known as Group B Strep and GBS, is a common natural bacterium which is a gut flora found in 20-30% of men and women.

It’s estimated that around one in four pregnant women in the UK carry GBS in their digestive system or vagina. Although GBS can be passed through sexual contact it is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Although GBS is rarely harmful to the mother it can pass to the baby. This could cause serious complications that can lead to conditions such as sepsis and meningitis that can be life threatening for the baby. GBS is also known to be a rare cause of uterine infection, urinary tract infection, preterm delivery, still births, maternal infections and late miscarriages.

The good news is that if detected during pregnancy, GBS infection in your newborn baby can usually be prevented with antibiotics in labour. It’s therefore important to get tested from 35 weeks onwards into your pregnancy to find out if you are carrying the bacterium to be able to receive effective treatment in labour.

How can Group B Strep affect my baby?

One newborn baby a day develops a Group B Strep infection


of all pregnant
women carry
Group B Strep

Since 2003 GBS infections in newborns have increased by 21%

One baby a week dies from a Group B Strep infection

If Group B Strep is passed to a baby they are at risk of developing one of two types of GBS disease:

Early onset GBS disease

Around two thirds of GBS disease are early-onset and occur within the first week of a baby’s life. Early onset usually presents as pneumonia or sepsis and may display the following symptoms:

  • Floppy and unresponsive
  • Poor feeding
  • Grunting
  • High or low temperature
  • Fast or slow heart rates
  • Fast or slow breathing rates
  • Irritability
  • Increased risk of resuscitation
  • Low blood sugar

Although the majority of early onset GBS infections do not lead to long term damage it can cause problems such as cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness and serious learning difficulties.

Late onset GBS disease

One third of GBS infections are late onset in the form of meningitis and sepsis. It can also present as septic arthritis (infection in the joints) and osteomyelitis (infection in the bone). 1 in 10 babies with GBS infection will die from the infection and 1 in 5 babies who survive their GBS infection will be affected permanently.

Up to half of survivors with GBS meningitis will suffer from physical disability, brain damage, mild to moderate learning disability, deafness, blindness and lung damage.

Although generally harmless to pregnant women it is recognised that GBS can cause preterm delivery, stillbirths and late miscarriages.

Preterm babies

Preterm babies are known to be at particular risk of GBS infection as their immune systems are not as well developed as those of full-term babies.

1 in 10 babies who develop GBS infection will die from the infection

The importance of testing for GBS

In the UK routine antenatal testing is currently not offered by the NHS. This is in sharp contrast to many other developed countries who provide GBS screening to all pregnant women.

Health services in the UK rely upon a ‘risk factor’ system to determine which newborns are more likely to be at-risk of developing GBS infection. The system looks at factors such as high temperature during labour, labour starting preterm or waters breaking early. Intravenous antibiotics given in labour to women carrying GBS have been proven to dramatically reduce the risk. This ‘risk factor’ system could be significantly improved upon as the rate of GBS infections in babies is not going down.

Strepelle can change this, it is an accurate and easy to use home to laboratory test for use from 35 weeks onwards into pregnancy. The test allows you to take control of your unborn baby’s future health.

Order your test today

Strepelle is available for £39.99

Order your test today

Strepelle is available for £39.99

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020 8242 1902