It is a bacteria (germ) present in the vagina. This bacteria is part of the normal germs that live inside some people's intestines and vagina. Usually there is nothing to worry about, but in a pregnant woman, the germ can be passed to the infant at the time of birth.
The germs are sometimes just part of the normal germs in your body. These are not infections caused by sexual activity.
The germs usually stay in the body without causing you to feel sick or have problems. In pregnancy, the germ can cause you to get a bladder or kidney infection. The signs of this can be burning when you urinate, fever, and back pain. Sometimes the germ can cause an infection in your uterus (womb) leading to belly pain and fever.
A pelvic examination is necessary. A sample of fluid can be taken from your vagina and rectum using a cotton tipped stick. Sometimes a urine test will also be done. This may be done as part of your regular exam during the last 2-3 months of pregnancy.
Since the best time to get rid of the germs is right before the baby is born, your doctor may give you antibiotics while you are in labor.
There is no good way to prevent getting it again since the germs are a normal part of your body.
The main problem is an infection. It can make the baby sick during the first day of life and sometimes can lead to death. Some babies who survive may have other problems. Sometimes babies may not get sick until after one week of age. They may get a serious infection called meningitis (infection around the brain) which must be treated with antibiotics in the hospital. If there is a problem, your baby's doctor will give you more information.
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