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©Group B Strep Support

New leaflet to help pregnant women make informed choices about group B Strep

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 3rd July 2018

New leaflet to help women make informed choices about group B Strep

This Group B Strep Awareness Month, a charity is offering free copies of their new information leaflet to all NHS maternity units so that all pregnant women in the UK are informed about group B Strep. 

Group B Streptococcus (GBS or Strep B) is a normal bacterium carried by adults, usually with no symptoms or side-effects – and charity Group B Strep Support is aiming to raise awareness and understanding this July.

GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in new-born babies. It causes serious infections, including sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. 

GBS is also the most common cause of meningitis in children under 5 – and untreated GBS infection can kill within hours.

The new leaflet, written with experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, explains when a baby is at increased risk of GBS infection, and how to reduce that risk. The UK 'best practice' guidelines recommend that this leaflet should be provided to all pregnant women.

Women can take a simple, safe test between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy to see if they're carrying GBS.

The test for GBS, also known as the ECM test, is becoming increasingly available in NHS hospitals.

Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive and Founder of Group B Strep Support, said: 'Knowing about group B Strep when you're pregnant and in the early weeks after birth can make a massive difference.

'Most group B Strep infections in newborn babies can be prevented, and early treatment can and does save lives.'

The first new mum Ellen heard of group B Strep was from the doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care who were caring for her newborn, Phoebe.

Phoebe had been born ill after an emergency Caesarean, and was rushed straight to NICU. She was two days old when the doctors diagnosed a group B Strep infection, and she stayed in hospital for the first ten days of her life.

Fortunately, Phoebe has made a fantastic recovery and recently celebrated her first birthday.

To mark July 2018's Group B Strep Awareness Month, the leading provider of the ECM test – The Doctor's Laboratory – is automatically applying a £5 discount for all GBS tests ordered during July, bringing the price down from £35 to £30. Please see here for more information.

For more information on group B Strep, please visit the Group B Strep Support website.