Why should I test for Group B Strep?
Carrying Group B Streptococcus, (Group B Strep, Strep B, GBS) has no symptoms. Taking a test is the only way of finding out if you are carrying the bacteria. Our test is simple, safe, accurate, reliable and an easy to use home-to-laboratory test for use from 35 weeks of pregnancy.
The Enriched Culture Medium test is recognised as the gold standard for detecting GBS carriage and our Strep B test gives you a highly predictive result of whether you will be carrying GBS over the next 5 weeks. Therefore when the test is taken at 35-37 weeks it covers when you are most likely to go into labour.
Testing is the only way to identify whether you are carrying GBS, Strep B or not. When detected during pregnancy steps can be taken to minimise the risk of your newborn developing a GBS infection. When a pregnant woman knows she is carrying Group B Strep she will be offered antibiotics from the onset of labour which minimises the risk of her newborn baby developing a Group B Strep infection; the most common cause of infection in newborn babies that causes meningitis, sepsis, and pneumonia.
In the UK, every month an average of
66 babies are diagnosed with Group B Strep infection
40 in the first 6 days (Early on-set) and 26 later in the first week to three months of life (Late –on-set).
56 babies make a full recovery
35 early on-set and 21 late on-set.
6 babies survive but with long term physical or mental disabilities
3 early on-set and 3 late on-set.
4 babies die from their infection
2 early on-set and 2 late on-set
The UK does not routinely test for GBS - unlike most other developed countries.
If you are offered a test it is important to find out what type of test they are using as not all tests are equally reliable. Strepelle uses a GBS-specific Enriched Culture Medium (ECM) test.
Do I need to test for Group B Strep in each pregnancy?
If Group B Strep was detected in a previous pregnancy and your baby did not develop a GBS infection, there is a 50% chance that you will be carrying Group B Strep again in your next pregnancy.