In Group B Strep Support’s view, the best approach is a two-pronged approach to preventing group B Strep infections in babies:
1. Information Provision:
- Fully inform health professionals about group B Strep
- Ensure the subject is covered as part of the training in obstetrics, general practice, midwifery and health visiting, as well as part of the ongoing training. Proactively encourage health professionals to update their knowledge about group B Strep, offering an incentive for completing a training course. Informing health professionals is key – only if health professionals are fully informed themselves will they be able to provide good quality information on to the families in their care.
- Provide all relevant health professionals with information leaflets, setting out the pros and cons of action/inaction
- Fully inform expectant parents about group B Strep in a proactive way at an antenatal appointment so they can make an informed decision about what’s best for them & baby
2. Medical intervention:
- Recommend intravenous antibiotics in labour to women whose babies are at higher risk of developing group B Strep infection, namely those who have previously had a baby with group B Strep infection, where group B Strep has been found in the urine during the pregnancy, or where a woman has multiple risk factors
- Offer sensitive testing to women not at higher risk – and ensure health professionals and parents are aware it is available and give women the choice to have a sensitive test for group B Strep late in pregnancy if they want to.
- Offer intravenous antibiotics in labour to women whose babies are at raised risk, those where group B Strep has been found during the current pregnancy or where there is another risk factor (risk factors are where labour has started or membranes ruptured before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, where the membranes have ruptured more than 18 hours before delivery, or where the mother has a raised temperature during labour of 37.8°C or higher).
In our view, this would be the best approach for preventing group B Strep infection in newborn babies. It is both clinically effective and cost effective, much more so than current best practice.