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Strep B Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What happens during a group B strep test?

If you are pregnant, your health care provider may order a swab test or a urine test.

For a swab test, you will lie on your back on an exam table. Your health care provider will use a
small cotton swab to take a sample of cells and fluids from your vagina and rectum.

For a urine test, you will most likely be told to use the “clean catch method” to ensure your sample is sterile. It includes the following steps.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. To clean, open your labia and wipe from front to back.
  • Start to urinate into the toilet.
  • Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  • Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amounts.
  • Finish urinating into the toilet.
  • Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.

If your baby needs testing, a provider may do a blood test or a spinal tap.

For a blood test, a health care professional will use a small needle to take a blood sample from your baby’s heel. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. Your baby may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.

A spinal tap, also known as a lumbar puncture, is a test that collects and looks at spinal fluid, the clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. During the procedure:

  • A nurse or other health care provider will hold your baby in a curled-up position.
  • A health care provider will clean your baby’s back and inject an anesthetic into the skin, so your baby won’t feel pain during the procedure. The provider may put a numbing cream on your baby’s back before this injection.
  • The provider may also give your baby a sedative and/or pain reliever to help him or her better tolerate the procedure.
  • Once the area on the back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in the lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up the spine.
  • The provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.

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