What vaginal swab? By Midwife Ebony

Around 35-37 weeks gestation, your doctor or midwife will likely advise you to have a vaginal and anal swab. This is to test for something you may, or may not have already heard of….Group B Streptococcus (GBS or Group B Strep) 

What is GBS?

GBS is a gram-positive coccus. It is a kind of germ that frequently grows in a woman’s vagina, bottom, or urine. About 10-30% of women carry this without even knowing it.


This is not considered a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).

Why is it important?

If a pregnant woman has GBS and gives birth vaginally then the newborn baby is at risk of neonatal GBS infection. Only a small amount of babies will catch this infection, but if they do then they can become very sick.

What happens if you have GBS?

If your swab results come back positive to GBS then don’t stress, you will be given Intravenous (IV) antibiotics when in labour. These antibiotics are used to reduce the risk of GBS infection to your baby.

How is the swab collected?

At one of your antenatal visits around 35-36 weeks, you will be given a swab to rub inside your lower vagina, and on the skin between the bottom of your vagina and your anus. In some cases your doctor or midwife will perform this for you. The test generally takes 2-3 days to receive the results. You will find out the results at your next appointment. No actions are needed to take place after this until you go into labour, where you will be given IV antibiotics every 4 hours until you give birth.

Written by BornOnline Midwife Ebony.

(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).