Pregnancy Questions: GBS- What is it and why is it important?

July 15, 2022

Ophthalmologist's Department

Okay mamas, lets talk about GBS. The reason this is one of the first topics is because there has been a HUGE new movement of mom’s refusing to do a GBS swab. I have made it my practice to start asking mother’s why this is and I haven’t received any answers yet that make sense to me- And here’s why:

GBS (Group B strep) is a bacteria that is part of the normal flora of the vagina that RARELY makes us (as mother’s) sick,but can make infants EXTREMELY sick. There are two different types of bacteria that causes early sepsis in the neonate. The first is E. Coli (a bacteria commonly found in stool) and the second is Group B Streptococcus. At 36 weeks gestation, your OB will tell you that it is time to do your GBS swab. It is completely and totally harmless to you and your baby, and it provides information to the newborn group about how likely the chance of your child becoming ill is in the first few days of life. If your GBS swab is negative, great! Nothing more to do. If your GBS swab comes back positive- no big deal this just means that you will receive antibiotics (likely penicillin, unless you have some allergy to it) prior to delivery. When mother’s refuse the GBS swab (and by the way- most OBs nowadays have you perform it yourself), one of two things will happen depending on the facility that you deliver in. 1. You will have to at minimum stay in the hospital for 48hours (regardless of how simple your delivery was)- simply due to the fact that your child will need to be under observation to make sure that he/she does not become sick. Or 2. You will receive antibiotics that may or may not be necessary. Why take a medication if you don’t need it? Also just of note- just because you were GBS negative with your first pregnancy, does not mean that you will be negative with subsequent pregnancies!


I am a firm believer that mother’s know what’s best for their children. My biggest goal is to provide you with ALL of the information about these topics, so no matter what you decide- you will have all of the information to be able to make an educated, informed decision and you will be prepared about what usually will happen based on which decision you make.