What is Group B strep? And why should I do the test?

What is Group B strep?

Oh hi, it's me and my little podcast with a topic for a podcast that does not sound like true crime at all. Group B streptococcus (GBS, or group B strep) is a bacteria that can be carried by about 20% of all women, however, it is often undetected. You can listen to all the details  here on our What I Know Now podcast 

As my 5 year old would say "Bap bowm. Not a winner". Especially when I tell you it is a swab test.... Not a winner, but super important to be across. Sorry for being boring, true crime fans. Although the thought of a swab is much more horrifying that it actually is. 

It's really important to know about Group B strep, because not all hospitals and doctors order the tests and so it's great to have some extra information around your risk profile and what group B strep actually is so you can talk to your GP or care provider about it.

In women, it’s found in the intestine and vagina. In most pregnancies, it causes no problem but in a small number of pregnancies, it can lead to infection for baby. This can happen just before or during labour, that is called early-onset infection. It can also affect babies some weeks or months down the track. It is really important to be clear - if you carry Group B Strep it's not a sign of poor hygiene or "uncleanliness"  it's normal bacteria  - so it is nothing to feel shame about. 

You may come across some info online about the use of probiotics during pregnancy to prevent GBS infection and or ways to "fix" it with food and supplements.  It's useful to research this information but equally important to remember that although the infection numbers are low, severe GBS infection is a very serious infection when it occurs. 

For information on Group B strep, here are the Australian Government's health resources, they're pretty technical.

For an easier to read version, but still detailed here is extra information from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 

This episode is fact-checked and supported by www.familyhq.com.au - thanks Liz and Sarah.

In this episode we share a whopping discount for our What I know now listeners. 

Remember, the information here is from our research and fact-checking and based on our experience, so make sure to always seek your very own professional advice before making any individual medical or wellbeing decisions.


The image used here is a microscopic view of Group B strep. It is sourced from google.