The vaginal swab it is an examination of the third trimester of pregnancy (it is normally performed between the 36th and 37th week) useful for identifying the presence of Sgroup B beta-hemolytic treptococcus also called Streptococcus agalactia. a harmless bacterium for the mother and the fetus which, however, could be very dangerous for the baby if contracted at the time of birth.
It is a rather simple and fast examination, not at all invasive or painful, which consists in the withdrawal of a small amount of vaginal and rectal secretion within which the presence of the bacterium is sought.
L’outcome it is practically immediate and in case of positive test the woman is prescribed intravenous antibiotic therapy that is administered from the onset of labor at a distance of every 4 hours until delivery and which allows to quickly reach adequate concentrations of drug in the blood, suitable for sterilizing the vaginal environment.
For it to be effective, however, it is sufficient that the first dose is administered 4 hours before the actual birth.
Of course, for women undergoing a caesarean, the administration of the antibiotic is not necessary unless the amniotic sac has previously been ruptured.
RISKS FOR THE CHILD
Group B beta-hemolytic streptococcus is a harmless bacterium for the mother (and for the fetus) to the point that in most cases the woman does not even realize she has contracted it.
If contracted at the time of birth, however, (although the risk of this happening remains very low) it can also have serious consequences on the baby. Infection, in fact, could cause meningitis and, in severe cases, neonatal death.
If the test is positive, even if the mother has been correctly subjected to antibiotic therapy, after birth the baby is swab at the oral-pharyngeal level and at the ear level to rule out that she has contracted the infection.
If this should have occurred, however, the little one is immediately subjected to antibiotic therapy to rule out any other problems.
Since 2017, the vaginal swab is one of the pregnancy tests included among those charged to the National Health Service.