Diagnosis and Treatment

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Doctors check on all babies after birth, including babies born to women who tested positive for group B strep (GBS) bacteria. If a doctor suspects a baby has GBS disease, they can confirm the diagnosis by

  • Taking a sample of the baby’s blood or spinal fluid
  • Ordering a chest x-ray

Doctors look to see if GBS bacteria grow from the samples (culture). It can take a few days to get these results since the bacteria need time to grow.


Doctor placing stethoscope on pregnant woman's belly

Most babies born to women who tested positive for GBS bacteria don’t need treatment if their mother received antibiotics during labor.

Doctors treat GBS disease in newborns and older babies with antibiotics, such as penicillin or ampicillin. Doctors give the antibiotics through a vein (IV). For babies with severe illness, doctors may determine they need other procedures, in addition to antibiotics.