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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy and newborn babies

Published: 19/12/2017

This information is for you if you or anyone you know is expecting a baby, planning to become pregnant or recently had a baby.

GBS is a common bacterium (bug) which is carried in the vagina and rectum of 2–4 in 10  women in the UK. Carrying GBS is not harmful to you but it can affect your baby around the time of birth. GBS can occasionally cause serious infection in newborn babies, and, very rarely, during pregnancy and before labour. 

Information covered in this leaflet

  • What Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is and how it is found
  • What GBS could mean for your baby
  • Risk factors for GBS infection in newborn babies, and how the risk can be reduced
  • Information about testing for GBS
  • Treatment options
  • Options for labour and birth if you carry GBS
  • Signs of GBS infection in newborn babies
  • Information about breastfeeding
  • Further information that may be helpful


This patient information leaflet was developed by the RCOG Patient Information Committee in collaboration with Group B Strep Support.

It's based on the RCOG clinical guideline Prevention of Early-onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Disease, which includes a full list of the sources of evidence we used.

Large print version of the leaflet

Download the GBS in pregnancy and newborn babies leaflet in large print

Booklet version of this leaflet

Download the GBS in pregnancy and newborn babies leaflet as a booklet

If you would like to order paper copies of this leaflet, please contact Group B Strep Support on 01444 416176 or

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