Q. What is Group B Strep?
A. Group B streptococcus (GBS) are bacteria that can be found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and genital area of adults. Although GBS infection usually causes no problems in healthy women before pregnancy, it can cause serious illness for the mother and baby during pregnancy and after delivery.
Q. Why is Group B Strep a concern?
A. One of every four or five pregnant women is a carrier for GBS. During pregnancy, GBS infection may cause chorioamnionitis (a severe infection of the placental tissues) and postpartum (after birth) infection.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) caused by GBS can lead to preterm labor and birth. An infant may contract GBS during pregnancy, or from the mother's vaginal canal during labor and delivery. GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns, including pneumonia and meningitis. About one out of every 100 to 200 babies whose mothers carry GBS develop symptoms of GBS disease. Premature babies are more susceptible to GBS infection than full-term babies.
Q. What are the risk factors for the baby?
A. An infant is at increased risk of developing Group B Strep disease if:
The mother tests positive for Group B strep in her system
The baby is born before 37 weeks gestation
The mother's amniotic membranes rupture ("water breaks") 24 hours or more before birth
Mother has an infection of the placental tissues and/or amniotic fluid (chorioamnionitis)
Group B strep bacteria are detected in the mother's urine (bacteriuria) during pregnancy (either current pregnancy or previous pregnancies)
Mother runs a fever during labor (temperature higher than 100 degrees F)
Baby has a sustained rapid heartbeat during labor
Mother is carrying twins or other multiples
Q. What are the risks for placenta encapsulation?
A. Generally, testing positive for Group B Strep is not contraindicated with placenta encapsulation, as prepared via the PBi method of encapsulation. If GBS is present in the vagina at the time of birth, any bacteria present on the placenta will be killed during the steaming process, as it is heated above 86 degrees F, the temperature at which the bacteria can not survive.(1)
Contraindications for GBS and placenta encapsulation:
IF the mother develops a uterine infection (chorioamnionitis) as a result of the GBS, her care provider will be aware of the condition and should not release the placenta to her for ingestion purposes. A serious GBS infection present within the placental tissue and membranes would be contraindicated with ingestion. This is a special circumstance.
Reminder: As a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, we do not make the call whether or not a placenta is safe to consume. It is up to the mother and her care provider to determine if the infection reached the placental tissue, and if she had chorioamnionitis as opposed to just testing positive for GBS. We do not diagnose or treat anything; we provide a service.
Stoner, Rabe and Hillier. 2004. Effect of Transport Time, Temperature, and Concentration on the Survival of Group B Streptococci in Amies Transport Medium
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital: High-Risk Pregnancy - Group B Streptococcus