Streptococcus B in Pregnancy Can Cause Meningitis

Streptococcus B in Pregnancy Can Cause Meningitis

Streptococcus B in Pregnancy Can Cause Meningitis

Streptococcus B is a bacterium that is naturally present in the gut and vagina of many women, but may present a risk to the baby at the time of normal delivery, as it can pass into the child and cause complications such as meningitis and pneumonia.

This bacterium usually does not cause symptoms and to avoid its transmission, one must do a test known as a swab examination, which is done between the 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy through the evaluation of a swab that is passed in the vagina and the region of the anus of the woman.

Exam results

The test results come out after about 2 days of collecting the swab, and when tested positive, indicate the presence of the bacterium in the woman’s vagina.

In these cases, a few hours before and during delivery the women will be given antibiotics to take, which will help prevent the bacteria from being passed on to the baby when it comes into contact with the mother’s vagina.

The test and antibiotics are not done before delivery, because there is a high risk of the bacteria returning after treatment, so it is important that contagion prevention care be done during labor.

Complications for baby

When the baby is infected, the complications can appear between a few hours to 2 months after the birth, being divided as follows:

Early symptoms are usually shortness of breath, swings in heart rate and blood pressure, problems in the gut and kidneys, pneumonia, and meningitis.

On the other hand, the most common late symptom is the onset of meningitis, which occurs between the week and 1 or 2 months after giving birth.

Risk factors

As Streptococcus is present in several women, the main risk factors are identification of this bacterium in previous deliveries or urinary infections caused by it throughout pregnancy.

In addition, women who have not swabbed and who go into labor before 37 weeks or who experience fever during childbirth have the highest risk of having the bacterium in the vagina. In these cases, it is common for the doctor to give antibiotics while the baby is born, even without confirmation of the infection.