Streptococcus B & Birth

Better get tested before giving birth.

Streptococci are bacteria that are divided into individual subgroups. They can cause various diseases, such as scarlet fever (group A streptococci).
During pregnancy, however, Group B streptococci are particularly important.
In 10-30% of pregnant women they colonize the intestine, the urethra or the vagina.
Affected women usually have no symptoms. Sometimes they can lead to a urinary tract infection during pregnancy.

B streptococci & birth

B streptococci can lead to an infection of the child during a vaginal birth.

Undiscovered they can lead to sepsis (blood poisoning), pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) or meningitis (inflammation of the meninges) within a few days and any of those infections could have a fatal outcome .
For example: the frequency of newborn sepsis without prenatal testing is about two to five cases per 1,000 deliveries.

Testing & Treatment

To prevent early neonatal sepsis or any of the other infections, pregnant women can be tested between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. A smear is taken from the vagina and anus and examined in the laboratory.
If the test is positive – the bacteria is detected in the genital and anal area of the pregnant woman.
As a consequence she will be treated intravenously with an antibiotic during the birth as a precautionary measure.
This antibiotic is passed on to the unborn child via the placenta and can protect it from a bacterial infection.
The antibiotic can work best if it is started at least four hours before the actual birth. If the child is born earlier, it will be intensively examined and monitored by pediatricians after birth.

This additional test must be paid privately and costs about 30€.

More information about further possible tests during pregnancy can be found here:
Overview about additional examinations during pregnancy
Pertussis Vaccination

November 2020 Dr. Christine Krämer
This blog post has been prepared with the greatest possible care and does not claim to be correct, complete or up-to-date.“

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