Why Testing for Group B Strep in Pregnancy is So Important
This month is Group Strep B awareness month. Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and can cause things like meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Most of these infections can be prevented by screening during pregnancy but around half of pregnant women haven’t even heard of Group B Strep.
It’s time to raise awareness and help save lives!
Up to one in five pregnant women carry Group B Strep in the birth canal and the bacterium can be passed onto the baby during the birth. One in five newborns who get infected suffer from serious, life-changing illnesses that can have life-long side effects — for example brain damage, hearing loss and sight loss. One of ten infected babies will die from it. It’s a very serious issue and if you take a test during pregnancy and find out that you are a carrier, you can get access to the potentially life-saving antibiotics during labour to help prevent health problems for your baby.
“The UK is currently one of the only developed countries in the world which doesn’t offer routine screening for GBS. In the UK, 70 babies a year die from Group B Strep infection.”
I can’t actually remember is I was offered a test during my two pregnancies. I know that I’ve read about this infection in my pregnancy books and online but my pregnancies passed in a blur!
The only way of finding out if a pregnant woman is a carrier is to have a laboratory test. Now you can test easily at home with a home-to-laboratory Group B Streptococcus (GBS) test called Strepelle that can be bought online here or at independent pharmacies from £39.99.
It allows pregnant women the opportunity to test for this infection from 35 weeks with the highest accuracy ECM testing. If the test is positive, the pregnant woman will be sent a letter to give them access to the needed antibiotics during labour.
“Strepelle was created in partnership with midwives and is designed to make laboratory testing for GBS more available and convenient, save babies lives, and prevent heart-breaking devastation in families. The home-to-laboratory test contains everything that is needed to provide a sample to the laboratory; instructions, two swabs and a pre-paid envelope; the results will arrive within 3 days of receipt of the sample, either by letter, text, or email.”
Read more about Group B Strep on the NHS website here.