Group B Strep (Maternal Infection)

Several types of pathogens can cause diseases in humans, and many of these can cause infections during pregnancy and childbirth. If left unmanaged, these infections may pose a risk to both the mother and the baby. The more severe infections can cause lasting damage, and can sometimes even be fatal. Among the most common of these are the bacteria known as Group B Strep.

Group B Strep is usually found in the human body and is usually harmless. However, if the bacterial colonies grow too significantly large, then infections may occur. These infections can also occur during pregnancy, and the bacteria can be passed on to the baby. Since the immune systems of babies are not yet fully developed, then this can be extremely harmful.

What Causes and Risk Factors for Group B Strep Infections?

Strep B is commonly found in the digestive system and the reproductive tract. When it is in the reproductive tract, it can have a significant impact on pregnancy.

Healthy individuals need not worry about Strep B infections; however, pregnant women must be more mindful since Strep B can be passed on to infants. Some of the causes or risk factors that contribute to these infections in babies are the following:

  • Compromised immune system: A compromised immune system can lead to a heightened risk for any type of infection for mothers. If this happens, then the baby may be at risk later on.
  • Urinary tract infections: UTI during pregnancy can also increase the chances of infecting the baby with Group B Strep.
  • Infection of the placenta or amniotic fluid: The placenta and amniotic fluid should be sterile. An infection in these structures may lead to an increased risk of infection for the baby.
  • Premature birth or prolonged labor: Studies have shown that both premature birth and prolonged labor are associated with increased infection risk.

Many cases of Strep B infections are only very minimally harmful. Still, more severe infections may be a cause for concern.

What to Watch Out For

Strep B infections can be particularly problematic if left unaddressed. As such, expecting mothers and healthcare professionals must always be aware of what to watch out for.

Detecting it for the mother can be tricky. The best way, however, is through screening. Screening for Strep B in pregnant women involves swabs for detecting the presence of the bacteria and reducing the chances of passing on the bacteria to the baby.

Babies, on the other hand, exhibit more signs and symptoms. Some of these include the following:

  • Fevers and elevated body temperature.
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty in feeding.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Mood changes and irritability.
  • Abnormal skin color or jaundice.

These symptoms may become apparent instantly upon birth. In other cases, the symptoms only appear days to weeks after birth. There are even cases of the infection only being apparent months afterward.

Addressing Group B Strep

Many cases of Group B Strep Infections are non-threatening, but that doesn’t mean that the infection can be regarded as risk-free. Certain steps must be done to ensure the safety of the baby. There are several ways of addressing Group B Strep. Some of these include the following:

  • Antibiotics during delivery: If a pregnant woman tests positive for Strep, the doctor may opt to use antibiotics during delivery. These antibiotics are usually administered on-the-spot because the bacteria can regrow if the antibiotics are given in advance.
  • Full check: Babies that are at higher risk of getting infected should undergo a thorough check by a doctor. It’s especially crucial before allowing the mother and the baby to be discharged.
  • Antibiotic treatment: Should an infection be present, the doctor may treat it with antibiotics.
  • Checking for recurrence: Babies that recover from a Group B Strep infection have a higher risk of getting re-infected. As such, the doctor always needs to be aware of the baby’s status.

Unfortunately, Group B Strep can lead to various complications if improperly treated. Some of these complications include pneumonia and meningitis, which have serious health consequences. Proper treatment is necessary to prevent these.

Did Your Baby Suffer from a Group B Strep Infection?

Group B Strep infections, if improperly treated, can severely affect an infant’s health. If you believe the healthcare professionals did not perform to the standards required of their job, then a malpractice suit may be apposite.

The Clark Law Office is your steadfast birth injury law firm in Okemos, Michigan. We are the most experienced regarding malpractice cases in the area. Call us at +1 (517) 347-6900, and let’s discuss the facts of your case.

5/5 - (1 vote)