Infections during Pregnancy

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: January 24th, 2022

7 min read

If an infection occurs during pregnancy and it is not managed properly it can have a serious impact on the baby. It is a risk factor for the development of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in a newborn. This can attract pregnancy injury compensation claims where it has not been appropriately managed.

Who manages no GBS colonisation in pregnancy?

There is a need for the combined approach with input from an obstetrician and neonatologist.

Common questions that arise;

  • Whether the inappropriate management lead to or worsened the infection?
  • Whether management of the baby after birth has not been adequate?

How is GBS treated?

Where it is recognised the treatment is carefully managed with Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis (IAP) to the GBS positive mother. Issues around adequate timing and appropriateness can lead to pregnancy injury claims.

There are two types of GBS infection; early onset, which presents from 24 hours of birth, or late onset which occurs from the seventh day up until three months.

It is only early onset that can be treated with IAP during labour. There is no preventative measure for late onset disease, after day six of life.

How should it be treated? If a baby is born unwell, irrespective of history of carriage of GBS they should be treated with antibiotics as a precaution until tests confirm otherwise. Failing to do so may allow infection to cause cardiac defects and metabolic disorders.

What damage does GBS do?

In serious cases we have seen meningitis leading to brain damage and cerebral palsy requiring lifelong care. This is lifechanging and engages brain injury and the law.

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