What is Group B Streptococcus (GBS)?

Group B Streptococcus is a naturally occurring bacterium carried by 20-40% of adults, usually without any symptoms or side-effects. It is commonly found in the gut and for up to 25% of women in the vagina. Carrying GBS does not present any symptoms in itself.

It can pass from mother to baby during labour and after birth, causing infections such as sepsis and meningitis. More rarely, it can cause infection during pregnancy. GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease and having treatment does not stop you getting the bacterium again in the future.

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Testing for whether you are a GBS Carrier

Screening for GBS is not routinely offered in the NHS. Laboratory testing for GBS is routinely undertaken at The Doctors Laboratory following the method described in the UK Standards for Microbiological Investigations, using enriched culture medium (ECM). The ECM test is the international ‘gold standard’ for detecting Group B Strep carriage.

Two swabs (lower vaginal and rectal) need to be cultured, ideally in the last five weeks of pregnancy, to best predict GBS carriage around the time of delivery.

The cost is £55.00 for the test (Delivery charge: £0.00).

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Peace of mind in 3 easy steps

Step 1

Complete the online form with your details, the contact details for the healthcare professional caring for you during your pregnancy and your card payment information. A self-collection kit will be posted out to you.

Step 2

After 35 weeks of pregnancy, follow the instructions included in the test kit to take your samples. Put your samples into the pre-paid envelope to post them back. You can track your package on its way back to the laboratory.

Step 3

Our UKAS accredited laboratory will process your samples and provide results, normally in 3-5 working days, to you and your healthcare professional. The healthcare professional may then make adjustments to your pregnancy plan.