PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
To prevent group B bacteria from spreading to your baby during labor, your doctor can give you an IV antibiotic — usually penicillin or a related drug — when labor begins. If you're allergic to penicillin and related drugs, you may receive clindamycin or a similar alternative. Taking oral antibiotics ahead of time won't help because the bacterium can return before labor begins.
Antibiotic treatment during labor is also recommended if you:
- Have a urinary tract infection
- Delivered a previous baby with group B strep disease
- Develop a fever during labor
- Haven't delivered your baby within 18 hours of your water breaking
- Go into labor before 37 weeks and haven't been tested for group B strep
Antibiotic therapy isn't usually needed if you have a C-section delivery, unless your water breaks or labor has already begun before surgery.
If you test positive for group B strep, remind your health care team during labor. Your reminders will help your health care team provide the best possible care during labor and delivery.
Group B strep typically doesn't affect the length of time you and your baby spend in the hospital, and it doesn't affect your ability to breast-feed safely.
Vaccine in development
Although it's not available yet, researchers are working on a group B strep vaccine that could, in the future, help prevent group B strep infections among adults.
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in neonates and young infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2010.
- Group B strep prevention: Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/GroupBStrep/general/gen_public_faq.htm. Accessed Oct. 4, 2010.
- Group B strep prevention: Adult disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/general/gen_public_adult.htm. Accessed Oct. 4, 2010.
- Group B strep prevention: Protect your baby from group B strep! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/general/protect-your-baby-GBS.htm. Accessed Oct. 4, 2010.
- Ogle JW, et al. Infections: Bacterial & spirochetal. In: Hay WW Jr, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3410745. Accessed Oct. 4, 2010.
- Lachenauer CS, et al. Group B streptococcus. In: Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/221546375-2/0/1608/528.html?tocnode=54478925&fromURL=528.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2450-7..50185-7_4188. Accessed Oct. 4, 2010.
- Baron M, et al. Group B streptococcal infections in nonpregnant adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2010.
- Apgar BS, et al. Prevention of group B streptococcal disease in the newborn. American Family Physician. 2005;71:903.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention of perinatal group B streptococcal disease. MMWR. 2002;51:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5111a1.htm. Accessed Oct. 7, 2010.