Management of group B streptococcal bacteriuria in pregnancy

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2012 May;34(5):482-486. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)35246-X.


Objective: To provide information regarding the management of group B streptococcal (GBS) bacteriuria to midwives, nurses, and physicians who are providing obstetrical care.

Outcomes: The outcomes considered were neonatal GBS disease, preterm birth, pyelonephritis, chorioamnionitis, and recurrence of GBS colonization.

Evidence: Medline, PubMed, and the Cochrane database were searched for articles published in English to December 2010 on the topic of GBS bacteriuria in pregnancy. Bacteriuria is defined in this clinical practice guideline as the presence of bacteria in urine, regardless of the number of colony-forming units per mL (CFU/mL). Low colony counts refer to < 100 000 CFU/mL, and high (significant) colony counts refer to ≥ 100 000 CFU/mL. Results were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, and relevant observational studies. Searches were updated on a regular basis and incorporated in the guideline to February 2011. Grey (unpublished) literature was identified through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology assessment-related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, clinical trial registries, and national and international medical specialty societies.

Values: Recommendations were quantified using the evaluation of evidence guidelines developed by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Table).

Benefits, harms, and costs: The recommendations in this guideline are designed to help clinicians identify pregnancies in which it is appropriate to treat GBS bacteriuria to optimize maternal and perinatal outcomes, to reduce the occurrences of antibiotic anaphylaxis, and to prevent increases in antibiotic resistance to GBS and non-GBS pathogens. No cost-benefit analysis is provided.

Recommendations: 1. Treatment of any bacteriuria with colony counts ≥ 100 000 CFU/mL in pregnancy is an accepted and recommended strategy and includes treatment with appropriate antibiotics. (II-2A) 2. Women with documented group B streptococcal bacteriuria (regardless of level of colony-forming units per mL) in the current pregnancy should be treated at the time of labour or rupture of membranes with appropriate intravenous antibiotics for the prevention of early-onset neonatal group B streptococcal disease. (II-2A) 3. Asymptomatic women with urinary group B streptococcal colony counts < 100 000 CFU/mL in pregnancy should not be treated with antibiotics for the prevention of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes such as pyelonephritis, chorioamnionitis, or preterm birth. (II-2E) 4. Women with documented group B streptococcal bacteriuria should not be re-screened by genital tract culture or urinary culture in the third trimester, as they are presumed to be group B streptococcal colonized. (II-2D).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteriuria / complications
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy*
  • Bacteriuria / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents