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Strep Test Pregnancy

Strep Test Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide


Strep test pregnancy, also known as rapid strep test, is a diagnostic test used to detect the presence of group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria in pregnant women. GBS is a common bacteria that can be found in the vagina and rectum of up to 30% of women. While GBS typically does not cause any symptoms in pregnant women, it can be transmitted to the baby during childbirth and cause serious infections, such as pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis.

Purpose of the Test

The primary purpose of the strep test pregnancy is to identify women who are carrying GBS so that appropriate measures can be taken to prevent transmission to the baby. By testing for GBS during pregnancy, healthcare providers can determine whether antibiotics are necessary to prevent infection in the newborn.


The strep test pregnancy is a simple and painless procedure that involves collecting a sample of vaginal and rectal secretions. The sample is then placed on a test strip that contains antibodies specific to GBS. If GBS is present, the antibodies will bind to the bacteria and produce a visible line on the test strip.

Interpretation of Results

A positive strep test pregnancy result indicates that GBS is present in the vagina or rectum. A negative result indicates that GBS is not present.


If the strep test pregnancy is positive, the pregnant woman will be given antibiotics during labor to prevent transmission of GBS to the baby. The antibiotics are typically administered intravenously (IV) and are continued for at least four hours before delivery.

Benefits of the Test

The strep test pregnancy has several benefits, including:

  • Prevention of GBS infection in newborns: By identifying women who are carrying GBS, the test helps prevent serious infections in newborns.
  • Early detection and treatment: The test allows for early detection of GBS, which enables prompt treatment to prevent complications.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that GBS is not present can provide peace of mind to pregnant women.

Risks of the Test

The strep test pregnancy is generally considered a safe and low-risk procedure. However, there are some potential risks, such as:

  • False positive results: The test can sometimes produce false positive results, which may lead to unnecessary antibiotic treatment.
  • False negative results: The test can also produce false negative results, which may result in missed GBS infections.
  • Discomfort: The procedure may cause some discomfort during sample collection.

When to Get Tested

The strep test pregnancy is typically performed between 35 and 37 weeks of gestation. However, some healthcare providers may recommend testing earlier or later in pregnancy.

Who Should Get Tested

All pregnant women should be offered the strep test pregnancy. It is especially important for women who have:

  • A history of GBS infection: Women who have had a previous pregnancy affected by GBS are at increased risk of carrying the bacteria again.
  • Premature labor: Women who are at risk of premature labor may need to be tested earlier in pregnancy.
  • Certain medical conditions: Women with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or HIV, may also be at increased risk of carrying GBS.


The strep test pregnancy is an important tool for preventing GBS infection in newborns. By identifying women who are carrying GBS, healthcare providers can take appropriate measures to prevent transmission to the baby. The test is simple, painless, and provides valuable information that can help ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and the newborn.

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