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How does group B streptococcal bacteria affect women?

If you are pregnant—or know anyone who is—you need to know about group B strep. Group B streptococcal bacteria (also called GBS, group B strep, or baby strep) is very common to all types of women and can be passed on to your baby during childbirth. Your baby can get very sick and even die if you are not tested and treated.

Group B strep (sometimes called GBS) is a type of bacteria that is often found in the vagina and rectum of healthy women. In the United States, about 1 in 4 women carry this type of bacteria. Women of any race or ethnicity can carry these bacteria.

Being a carrier for these bacteria does not mean you have an infection. It only means that you have group B strep bacteria in your body, usually living in the rectum or vagina. You would not feel the bacteria or have symptoms like a yeast infection. These bacteria are usually not harmful to you—only to your baby during labor or soon after being born.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.