GBS basics

Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, may be one of the most complex topics you encounter in your pregnancy. In order to support your informed choice discussion with your midwife, this website uses visual tools to help you learn more about GBS. You may be deciding whether to get tested, or deciding how to proceed after testing positive, or perhaps you just want a bit more background information about GBS. Whatever your circumstances, this website may help you understand important concepts and provide tools to help you make informed decisions.

What is GBS?

GBS stands for Group B Streptococcus. It is a type of bacteria that can live in your body. It is not the same type of Streptococcus that causes Strep throat. In fact, GBS does not usually make you sick. For women who test positive, GBS just one of many, many bacteria that live inside them. GBS can live in the gut and the vagina.

Explain the science of GBS.
What is my risk level?

The reason GBS is a concern for pregnant women is that, in very rare cases, the GBS bacteria can get into the baby and cause serious illness. GBS testing is common in many places, and treatment programs have helped to reduce the number of babies who get sick from it. You don’t have to get tested for GBS, but in order to be fully informed, you may want to look into the risks associated with GBS.

Tell me more about the risks.
What are my options?

If you test positive for GBS, or if you decide not to get tested, your midwife will go over your options with you. Understanding how GBS works and what the risks are will help prepare you to make an informed decision. It is also important to know what is involved in each possible course of action and how each fits into your birth plan.

Break down the options for me.


Explain the science
of GBS.
Tell me more about
the risks.
Break down the options
for me.