Group B Streptococcus: A Threat to Normal Pregnancy
GBS is a naturally-occurring bacteria located in the genital tract, the bladder, rectum and throat. The colonization of these bacteria occurs in the mucous membranes of a person, and transmission of GBS is done through sexual contact, touch, or breathed in the air.
In July 2003, Dr. Harald Leitich and his colleagues from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the University of Vienna made a study regarding the relationship between bacterial infection and preterm delivery. The result of this study that was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology stated that women who have bacterial infection in early pregnancy, such as bacterial vaginosis are nine times more likely to have a miscarriage, as compared to uninfected women.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, stated that pregnant women have an increased risk of having babies with GBS infection if they have one of the following:
- Fever during the time of labor
- Previous babies who have diseases linked with GBS
- Water breaks 18 hours or more before delivery, or if labor occurred before the 37th week of pregnancy
- An infection in the urinary tract that is associated with GBS
GBS causes infection in the blood, the lining in the brain and the lungs of the unborn baby. Therefore, GBS can potentially harm the baby, resulting to miscarriage or stillbirth.