s it safe to induce labor if I am Group B Strep positive?

Group B Strep affects between 10 and 35 percent of all healthy adult women.  Group B strep is a certain bacteria that lives in the vaginal or rectal area.  When Group B strep "colonizes" it manifests on a woman’s skin.  Your doctor can do a skin culture to see if you have group B strep on your skin. Your doctor can also do a test similar to a Pap smear to see if it is inside your body.

If you have Group B strep and are pregnant, your doctor may have you take antibiotics during your pregnancy and probably during labor.  The highest risk to your baby is during delivery.  If the baby should become infected, he will need treatment including an antibiotic, and probably be kept in the hospital some extra days.

Induction of labor may be safe if you are Group B Strep positive.  However, if your physician suggests rupturing your membranes to induce labor you allow easier access of your Group B Strep to your baby.  Rupturing membranes AFTER the IV antibiotics are started LATE in labor may not be as problematic.

Some other things you should be aware of if you are Group B Strep positive:

–  Two doses of antibiotics (or more) before birth are recommended as a *guideline* for doctors. If you get ANY antibiotics they can help, but doctors like to see you get at least two doses before delivery.

–  If you’re concerned about a fast labor, be reassured — a natural, fast labor means babies come into contact with the bacteria for a shorter amount of time.

–  internal fetal monitoring may create a small scrape on baby’s head where the bacteria can get into the bloodstream.  Routine internal monitoring is not a good idea for most Group B strep positive moms. talk with your physician about the risks and benefits of using the internal monitor.

–  Discuss ways to avoid excessive digital exams in labor with your provider, as inserting anything into the vagina may push the bacteria closer toward the baby.

–  Talk to your physician about her prevention strategy.

–  Remember, the antibiotics are given to you to protect baby. IVs in labor aren’t fun, but the reasons for IV antibiotics in labor are compelling.

–  Taking oral antibiotics before labor to get rid of Group B Strep colonization will not reduce the risk to baby.  IV antibiotics in labor are the only proven way to protect baby from infection.

–  Consider a urine screen for Group B strep during late pregnancy.

–  A c-section does not automatically reduce the likelihood of infecting baby and may increase his risk of other infections.

–  Talk with the pediatrician.  Advise him that you are Group B strep positive and talk about what this means for baby.  Baby should be watched for a day or two to be sure all is well

–  Learn all you can. Knowledge is the best defense against Group B Strep.

Is it safe to induce labor if I am Group B Strep positive?