The battle against group B Strep (GBS) took a huge leap forward today with the launch of a new patient leaflet which is recommended to be provided to all pregnant women for the first time.
GBS is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies but recent surveys have shown that many pregnant women feel inadequately informed about the illness. On average:
- two babies a day develop the infection
- one baby a week dies from GBS infection, and
- one baby a week survives with life-changing disability.
This clear and concise patient information leaflet is to be provided to all pregnant women as part of their routine antenatal care.
The leaflet was jointly written by experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and charity Group B Strep Support, and is based on the RCOG’s recently updated Green-top Guideline, Group B Streptococcal Disease, Early-onset.
Following the RCOG’s September update to its Green-top Guideline on group B Strep, it is now national recommended practice to provide all pregnant women with information about GBS. This new leaflet will ensure women are equipped with high-quality information including on how to minimise the risk of infection in their baby.
We all want the NHS to be the safest place in the world to give birth, and part of the fight for safer births is about arming parents and NHS staff with knowledge to spot signs and take preventative action. Giving parents clear information on the signs of group B Strep infection and guidance on when to seek medical advice is another welcome and important step.
In the UK, two babies a day develop group B Strep infection. One baby a week will die, and one a week will be left with life-changing disability. These numbers are far too high.
This partnership between the RCOG and GBSS will improve prevention of group B Strep infection in newborn babies. This new information leaflet will help families minimise the risk of infection to their baby, so we see fewer of these infections going forward.
Our CEO, Jane Plumb MBE said, “We are delighted to be working with the RCOG to raise awareness of group B Strep among pregnant women. For the first time, this new joint leaflet will provide clear, concise and consistent information to all pregnant women throughout the NHS to help improve knowledge and awareness, as well as reduce the mixed messages that are sometimes given about GBS.
While many pregnant women carry GBS, in the majority of cases, their babies are born safely and without developing an infection. However, GBS infection in newborn babies can be dangerous. By providing all pregnant women with an information leaflet on GBS for the first time, we can help to raise awareness and save the lives of babies.
We are pleased to have worked with the RCOG on this joint project and look forward to future collaborative efforts in bringing attention to this serious infection.”