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Is it safe to start antibiotics before the labour starts?

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Posted on Tue, 17 Mar 2015
Question: I was just informed that I have GBS, but the Dr wants to wait until I go into labor to start the antibiotics. She said I need the meds in my system 4 hours before the baby is born. That concerns me, because my labors are short and I sleep through the first stages. Since this is my 4th pregnancy, I'm especially worried I might not get to the hospital in time, as I have had three preterm/false labor episodes, with one requiring two shots to stop the contractions. Should the Dr give me the antibiotics sooner, even though the usual treatment is to give them during labor? Wouldn't my baby be at increased risk if he is born quickly, before the 4 hour window, when the meds can take effect?
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Answered by Dr. Ramadevi Wani (59 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Antibiotics must be taken during labor to kill the bacteria

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Welcome to Healthcare Magic.
How far you are in your pregnancy?
Was this GBS detected in urine or vaginal swab?

GBS can cause severe disease to the baby. Antibiotics help kill some of the Group B streptococci that can harm the baby during vaginal delivery.
Antibiotics help during labor only. They should not be taken before delivery because the bacteria can grow back quickly. Taking GBS before labor is of no use.

The baby may be at slightly increased risk if born before the 4 hour window. But antibiotics taken when not in labor are of no use. The best thing to do is, once you start feeling mild labor pains go to the ER immediately. Tell the doctor in ER about your GBS status. If any signs however mild of labor are found they would admit and start GBS prophylaxis. Even if delivery occurs before 4 hour window the antibiotic that you receive gives some protection, if not optimum protection.
The usual medicine given for GBS prophylaxis is Benzyl Penicillin. Please tell your doctor if you are allergic to it or have tendency of allergy. They will give you another antibiotic.

If GBS is found in urine, because of the higher risk of infection to baby you need to take antibiotics now and during labor.
I hope I have answered your concerns. If you have any further queries do write to me. I will be happy to answer.
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Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Ramadevi Wani

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Practicing since :1985

Answered : 1318 Questions

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Is it safe to start antibiotics before the labour starts?

Brief Answer: Antibiotics must be taken during labor to kill the bacteria Detailed Answer: Hi, Welcome to Healthcare Magic. How far you are in your pregnancy? Was this GBS detected in urine or vaginal swab? GBS can cause severe disease to the baby. Antibiotics help kill some of the Group B streptococci that can harm the baby during vaginal delivery. Antibiotics help during labor only. They should not be taken before delivery because the bacteria can grow back quickly. Taking GBS before labor is of no use. The baby may be at slightly increased risk if born before the 4 hour window. But antibiotics taken when not in labor are of no use. The best thing to do is, once you start feeling mild labor pains go to the ER immediately. Tell the doctor in ER about your GBS status. If any signs however mild of labor are found they would admit and start GBS prophylaxis. Even if delivery occurs before 4 hour window the antibiotic that you receive gives some protection, if not optimum protection. The usual medicine given for GBS prophylaxis is Benzyl Penicillin. Please tell your doctor if you are allergic to it or have tendency of allergy. They will give you another antibiotic. If GBS is found in urine, because of the higher risk of infection to baby you need to take antibiotics now and during labor. I hope I have answered your concerns. If you have any further queries do write to me. I will be happy to answer. The