How Do Babies Get Sick from GBS Disease?

Typically, babies are exposed to Group B Strep during labor and delivery; they may also be exposed after the mother's membranes rupture ("water breaks"). Babies can come in contact with Group B Strep if the bacteria travel upward from the mother's vagina into the uterus. Babies may also be exposed while passing through the birth canal. The babies become infected when they swallow or inhale the bacteria. There is also evidence that GBS may cross intact membranes to expose the baby while it is still in the womb. There it may cause preterm births, stillbirths or miscarriages. However, these problems may be caused by a variety of factors - other infections, stress, genetic defects for example. Be sure that any of these complications are investigated fully even if you are colonized with GBS.

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