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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the recommended delivery methods when diagnosed with GBS during pregnancy?

    I am pregnant with my 2nd child, EDD April 8th. I was planning on having a vaginal delivery, but just learnt I am infected with B streptococcus. My gynecologist gives me 2 options: - vaginal delivery and antibiotics, which reduces the risks for the baby (without eliminating them) - undergoing a C-section, which will reduce all risks for the baby I gathered some data online, with details on the contamination risks for the baby (50-70%), the risk that the baby develops signs/symptoms (1/4000 if the mother is treated with antibiotics during labour/delivery, 1/200 if she isn't) and the supposed benefits of a C-section (no risk that the baby gets contaminated or develops signs/symptoms of GBS, though I understand a C-section implies other risks for mother and baby as with any other surgical procedure) What would you recommend I do to limit the risks for the baby as much as possible : vaginal delivery and antibiotics? C section? C section and antibiotics?
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  • Dr Shian Miller

    Gynaecologist, Obstetrician

    Dr Shian Miller is a Brisbane Obstetrician Gynaecologist who has rooms on Wickham Tce in Brisbane city and admitting rights at Greenslopes Private Hospital. She … View Profile

    Hi,

    I'm sorry to hear you were in such a dilemma with your second pregnancy - everyone says the second is meant to be easier! I see your due date has passed - hope it all went well - but I'll provide the information for other readers. 

    Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is found normally in the vagina in up to 40% of women - only sometimes can it cause infections of the upper genital tract, urinary infections, or neonatal infections. 

    Some clinicians perform routine swabs of the vagina to check for GBS in pregnancy - some clinicians don't do it at all. The reason is that the risk of neonatal infection is not high and places such as the UK think it is not cost-effective enough to screen all pregnant women. In Australia, the guidelines are basically whatever your obstetrician recommends. 

    It is interesting that your obgyn recommends a Caesarean section. This is not usually recommended if the only reason is for GBS. Usually, without other reasons, a vaginal delivery is perfectly fine - you just need IV antibiotics for ideally at least 3 hours before the baby is born. Even if your labour is too fast and antibiotics weren't given, your baby would just be monitored more closely and some places give the baby antibiotics in that case. 

    A Caesarean may not be protective for GBS infection - GBS can still travel up the vaginal through the cervix and into the uterus, especially if your cervix has started to dilate or you have ruptured your membranes.

    Hope it all went well.

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