Screening for group B streptococcus in the rectum and vagina is indicated for pregnancy monitoring. Group B strep (GBS) is a bacterium found frequently in the intestines, and more than one third of pregnant women are asymptomatic (colonized) carriers. There is therefore a risk of transmitting it to the child at the time of delivery. Infecting the newborn with group B strep (GBS) can lead to many complications, including pneumonia, neonatal meningitis or a generalized blood infection (sepsis). All pregnant women should undergo GBS screening between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy, or earlier if there is a risk of premature labour.
A positive result indicates that the bacteria is currently present in the patient’s vagina and rectum with a risk of transmission to the newborn. She should receive intravenous antibiotic treatment at the time of delivery or when the membranes rupture (her water breaks). A negative result indicates that the pregnant woman is probably not a carrier of the bacteria and, unless there are specific risk factors, she should not receive antibiotic therapy during delivery.