Group B Strep Awareness Month

Experts Back Campaign To Routinely Offer Testing To Pregnant Woman


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

This July, experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell are marking Group B Strep (GBS) Awareness Month by calling for testing to be offered routinely to all expectant mothers.

GBS is an infection commonly found in both men and women which is usually harmless. However, if transmitted to a baby during birth, it can lead to life-threatening conditions including meningitis and brain damage, or even death for the newborn.

While many developed countries, including the USA, France, Canada and Australia to name a few, routinely offer pregnant women testing for GBS, the NHS doesn’t.

The Group B Strep Support Group has long campaigned for routine screening to allow high-risk mothers to be given antibiotics during labour - a proven treatment to prevent the issue.

To raise awareness about GBS, which research shows many pregnant women are unaware of, the charity is sharing facts on its Facebook page and across social media, using the hashtag “#GBSaware”.

Irwin Mitchell is backing the campaign which is intended to raise awareness of the infection, symptoms and treatment options, as well as promote the sought-after policy for universal GBS screening in pregnant women.

Expert Opinion
We work closely with many families who have experienced the devastating impact undiagnosed GBS can have on babies which can include severe brain damaged or in some tragic cases, be fatal.

It’s shocking that despite a simple swab test, which detects if an expectant mother is a carrier, is available but not routinely offered on the NHS.

Knowing if an expectant mother is a carrier means an appropriate care plan is put in place to provide intravenous antibiotics throughout labour to prevent the infection being transmitted to the newborn.

It’s time to stop the unnecessary suffering and deaths of so many newborn babies each year, by making it standard across the UK for all expectant mothers to be offered a test to see if they are carrying the GBS bacterium.
Alison Eddy, Partner