Nobody can tell you not to worry about the health of your baby—after all, it’s your job to worry about your infant’s health. So what should you do if your doctor told you not to worry about a group B streptococcal infection at birth?
A group B strep infection is a serious bacterial infection that is transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during delivery. Many infected mothers carry no symptoms—as the bacteria naturally occurs in the body—but an infant’s delicate immune system cannot effectively fight off the infection. Untreated cases of a group B strep infection at birth in Kentucky often result in brain damage, disability and even premature death.
In the 1970s, nearly half of all cases of GBS infection resulted in death. However, early recognition of the symptoms and aggressive antibiotic treatment has reduced the death rate significantly. The key is to identify the risks of group B strep infection and to ensure that measures are taken in the delivery room to minimize side effects.
Signs and symptoms of a group B streptococcal infection at birth in KY include:
- High or low body temperature
- Irritability or fussiness
- Increased respiratory rate or difficulty breathing
- A bluish tinge to the skin or extremities
- Limpness, stiffness, or seizures
- Erratic heart rate or blood pressure
- Low infant energy or problems with feeding
While there is no way to guarantee that the infection will not be spread, intravenous antibiotics can significantly reduce the harmful effects of an infant GBS infection. Pregnant mothers who are given antibiotics during delivery have a 1 in 4,000 chance of passing the infection on—but without antibiotics, the newborn has a 1 in 200 chance of developing complications from a GBS infection.
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