Group B Strep Testing

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a normal bacterium carried by a third of adults, most commonly in the gut, but up to 25% of women carry it in their vagina.  This does not usually cause any problems and it is not a sexually transmitted disease.  Many developed countries routinely screen for GBS in pregnancy but the UK does not.   Occasionally it is detected when screening for other things but the standard NHS swab test can miss around 50% of cases giving a false negative result.  Effective screening involves using a specific sensitive test to detect GBS carriage but this is only available privately in the UK.  Not all women who carry GBS will pass it on to their babies but sometimes GBS infection in newborns can cause serious illness and is sometimes life threatening.  To avoid this you will be offered Intravenous Antibiotics during your labour if you do test positive for GBS and your newborn will be monitored closely in the first twelve hours of life.  This greatly reduces the chance of your baby becoming unwell.


We can provide the ‘gold standard’ Enriched Culture Medium test including all the necessary follow-up should a positive result be obtained.  You will also receive information on how to identify an unwell newborn, or late onset GBS, to give you confidence in seeking medical attention should you need it.