Take a Strep B test when pregnant

Approximately 25% of pregnant women carry the Strep B bacterium

What is Strep B?

Group B streptococcus (Strep B) (GBS) (Group B Strep) bacteria is one of many bacteria that can be present in our bodies. It does not usually cause any harm and is called carrying or colonised with GBS. It is estimated that approx. 25% of pregnant women carry the Strep B bacterium in their digestive system or vagina in the UK.

How can Group B Strep affect my baby?

Strep B in Pregnancy

One newborn baby a day develops a Group B Strep infection coming into contact with GBS during labour and birth. If Group B Strep is passed to a baby, they are at risk of developing a GBS infection.

Early onset GBS infection:
Around two thirds of Strep B infections are early-onset and occur within the first week of a baby’s life. Most babies who become infected develop symptoms within 12 hours of birth.

Early onset usually presents as pneumonia, sepsis, or meningitis, and may display the following signs:
  • grunting, noisy breathing, moaning, seeming to be working hard to breathe when you look at their chest or tummy or not breathing at all

  • be very sleepy and/or unresponsive

  • be crying inconsolably

  • be unusually floppy

  • not feeding well or not keeping milk down

  • have a high or low temperature and/or their skin feels too hot or cold

  • have changes in their skin colour (including blotchy skin)

  • have an abnormally fast or slow heart rate or breathing rate

  • have low blood pressure*

  • have low blood sugar*

*Identified by tests done in hospital Although the majority of early onset GBS infections do not lead to chronic damage and most newborn babies will recover from their GBS infection it can cause long-term problems such as cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, and serious learning difficulties.

Strep B Test UK

1 in 17 newborn babies with GBS infection will die and 1 in 14 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. If you have previously had a baby with GBS or know that you are a carrier you should be offered antibiotics during labour and your maternity team will monitor the health of your newborn baby closely for at least 12 hours after birth and treat them with antibiotics where necessary.

Most babies who become infected can be treated successfully and will make a full recovery.

The importance of testing for Group B Strep

Early-onset GBS Infection is more likely if:
  • your baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy

  • you previously had a baby with a GBS infection

  • your baby is born more than 24 hours after your waters broke

  • you have a high temperature during labour


Pregnant women are not routinely screened for Strep B in the UK, but it is sometimes detected when tests for other infections are carried out.

The Strepelle Test is an Accurate and Reliable Test that can be taken from the Safety and Convenience of your own home and then processed in a Professional Laboratory.

Don't Guess about Group B Strep take a test and know your status before going into labour to protect your baby.