Group B strep: How to protect your baby

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Group B strep: How to protect your baby

Group B strep can be dangerous for newborns. Learn the importance of routine screening.

Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a common bacterium often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract. Although group B strep is usually harmless in adults, it can be serious — even life-threatening — for newborns.

Having group B strep in your body is normal. There's nothing you can — or need — to do about it. But if you're pregnant, a group B strep screening test in the third trimester and antibiotic treatment during labor can help protect your baby.

Harmless in adults

Many adults have group B strep in their bodies, usually in the bowel, vagina, rectum or throat. In adults with serious medical conditions, such as liver failure or cancer, group B strep can cause dangerous infections. But most adults simply carry the bacterium, which means they have no symptoms and don't feel sick. In fact, group B strep in otherwise healthy adults isn't treated.

Pregnant women with group B strep are the exception. The bacteria can spread to a baby during a vaginal delivery if the baby is exposed to — or swallows — fluids containing group B strep.

Choosing a pedometer

Pedometers can be found online and at most retail and fitness stores. Prices vary, but basic models often cost less than $20. When choosing a pedometer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it easy to use? All pedometers count steps. If that's all you need to know, a basic model might be fine. If you're curious about distance walked, calories burned or other measurements — or if you want the ability to upload your walking data or electronically track the numbers — you might prefer a fancier model.
  • Is the display easy to read? Look for a display monitor you can read in different types of lighting, especially if you'll be walking both indoors and outdoors.
  • Is it comfortable? Choose a lightweight model that fits on the type of clothing you usually wear.
  • Is it sturdy? Look for a sturdy clip and a security strap to hold the pedometer in place.

Keep in mind that a pedometer detects body motion to count your footsteps. It may record other movements you make — not just walking — as steps taken. For the most accurate daily tally, you may need to turn your pedometer off when you're not walking.

Last Updated: 12/08/2006
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